The World Health Organization (WHO) said it rejects using CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus vaccine passports “at this stage” for travel because health authorities are not sure whether the vaccine is effective.
“We as WHO are saying at this stage we would not like to see the vaccination passport as a requirement for entry or exit because we are not certain at this stage that the vaccine prevents transmission,” WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris told a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland, on Tuesday.
Another big issue is concerns about equity, or equal access to vaccines across different groups in society. Pregnant women, for instance, largely are advised not to get a vaccine at this time.
“But this is an evolving situation. And ultimate, of course, when we know more about whether or not it prevents transmission and when there’s greater equity, this is something that may well be important in the future,” Harris added later.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) made a similar argument for barring the usage of a vaccine passport system, citing privacy concerns and whether or not such a system would be kept in a centralized database. Some, like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, have said that it would create a class system of vaccinated and non-vaccinated people.
Previously, WHO officials have rejected passports when asked about them.
“Vaccination is just not available enough around the world and is not available certainly on an equitable basis,” Dr. Michael Ryan, the head of the WHO Health Emergencies Program, told reporters March 8.
On Monday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, became the second U.S. governor after DeSantis to issue an executive order barring vaccine passports. DeSantis, also a Republican, became the first governor to do so last week.
“Today I issued an executive order prohibiting the use of so-called COVID-19 vaccine passports,” DeSantis wrote Twitter April 2. “The Legislature is working on making permanent these protections for Floridians and I look forward to signing them into law soon.”
“No COVID-19 vaccine is required by law,” the governor’s order stated, adding that “vaccination records are private health information” that shouldn’t be shared by a mandate. The passports, he said, would harm individual freedom and harm patient privacy.
“A requirement to show a passport to take part in everyday life such as a sporting event, going to a restaurant or going to a movie theater would ‘create two classes of citizens,’” DeSantis stated.
His order forbids local governments and businesses from implementing the system.
Some firms—such as airlines and cruise companies—have floated the idea to entice people into using their services. New York state, meanwhile, has set up its own “Excelsior Pass” that would be used in large-scale events such as Madison Square Garden and sporting events.
Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.