Does A Vaccine Passport Discriminate?

Hey everyone! Hope you’re all staying safe. It’s gonna be a long one.
This is going to be a little different from my previous posts, more serious but important to discuss. I’ll be talking about the controversial topic of vaccines passports and how they can effect us. As a law graduate I’m very interested in this subject, so be prepared for a long ramble.

Just to let you know, these views are my own. I only wish to voice my opinions and contribute to the discussion. It’s your own choice to be vaccinated.

In my definition, a “vaccine passport” is used to grant access to participating countries and other areas. It also shows you have a minimised COVID-19 risk to Public health/safety due to being vaccinated.
In basic terms its documentation that let’s you enter a shop, restaurant or go abroad showing you’re little to no risk of further infection. As a consequence, un-vaccinated people would not be granted entry.

Of course it goes without saying, this is clearly discriminatory against anyone with genuine beliefs against receiving vaccinations. Religious or otherwise.
Within the UK and most of the world, we’re free to oppose medical treatment and shall not be forced or pressurised into any form of procedure. Protected under the Human Rights Act 1998, Article 9 (freedom of thought, consciousness and religion)

It does however. Mention in part ii of the article that there are some specified variables that the government can exercise to overule this qualified right (eg. high risk to Public health). UK legislation must perform a balancing act between Art. 9 and the amount of risk that the individual could bring to the public, they will then decide on whether it’s reasonable or not to implement barriers for un-vaccinated people.

For example.
A vaccine passport is completely unnecessary to enter a Restaurant, but may be needed when visiting a hospital, care home or other medical facility. In special circumstances, you may legally be refused access in the event where reducing the risk of infection is more important than your individual belief.

There is no denying that any form of a vaccination passport does discriminate. The government will be looking for areas up for contention. For example, visiting intensive care wards or allowing people to enter a country with a new strain of COVID-19. Although, these still amount to pressurising the public into disregarding their beliefs and also potentially impeding on some privacy laws.

To counter this argument, a passport could be more positive than we think. Knowing that there are other vaccinated people around us, my in return instill a sense of trust in eachother that we may have lost over the past year. If any area uses a passport system to enter, masks or other PPE may not be needed as the risk of infection should be considerably lower.
It raises the question, should anyone be treated differently just because they hold a strong belief?
Short answer, no under the UK Equality Act 2010

Some would say, it’s their choice to believe in something so the consequences are their own fault. If they want to be allowed entry then they just need to be vaccinated. You’re free to express your opinion, but they are entitled to express they’re beliefs and not be discriminated, humiliated or pressurised against for doing so. Yes, it be made more simple to have a cut and dry system, you’re in or you’re out. But you can’t in good conscious exclude millions of people just because its easier. We must work together especially now that we’re so close to normality. The Human Rights Act is there for a reason, we’re all equally protected under it.

Personally, I believe the only way to legally implement a vaccination passport is to give it a strict criteria for when it should be found reasonable and necessary. Only in protection of our most vulnerable on a case by case basis should it be used. COVID-19 could be around for a number of years, so we need a long term strategy on how to overcome and normalise it without alienating anyone with different beliefs.

If you made it this far than I applaud you. I love a good human rights debate and couldn’t resist writing about it. Hopefully it’s not too cunfusing.

Thank you very much for visiting!
Written Rambles

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