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Vaccine passport primed to be agent of illiberal change & loss of freedoms

After a devastating year adapting to life in the COVID-19 pandemic, many are looking to pathways to “return to normal”. Notably, business activities and travel remain highly restricted across the much of the world. In the meantime, one idea gaining popularity is the concept of a vaccine passport.

What is a vaccine passport?

The concept behind vaccine passports is simple. Whether in paper or digital form, they would provide individuals health credentials allowing them to show their vaccination status. As a result, individuals would gain access to specific social activities. Meanwhile, unvaccinated individuals or those without the vaccine passport would be denied participation.

Certain countries have already implemented restrictions requiring proof of vaccination. While the United States does not currently have federal vaccine passport, individual states and municipalities are using vaccination status. In other words, proof of vaccination is required for certain activates. From allowing attendance at sporting events or concerts to providing ways to skip quarantines, the appeal is real for those looking to get back to a sense of normalcy.

ISEG Research Fellow Devereaux Points Out Danger of Restricting Unvaccinated 

Dr. Abigail Devereaux, Research Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Economic Growth (ISEG), published a policy paper titled “Restricting the Unvaccinated Sets a Dangerous Precedent.” in The Hill.


Business activities and travel remain highly restricted in many places after a harrowing year. People, businesses and social organizations are eager to get back to normal, so it’s no surprise that vaccine passports, sold as tickets to normality, are making news. COVID-19 vaccine passports would be novel health credentials that people carry and present — in the form of a QR code, perhaps — to access certain social activities. The least restrictive vaccine passports are intended for travel to countries in lieu of tests and quarantines, like the EU’s digital passport. More restrictive vaccine passports serve as tickets to any social activities authorities deem “nonessential,” like Denmark’s Coronapas or Israel’s Green Pass. In the United States no federal vaccine passport exists, but certain states are rolling them out.

Dr. Abigail Devereaux
Research Fellow

The full article is available to read at The Hill