Over 19 million people have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine making it one of the quickest to ever be distributed, and around 97% of over 70-year-olds have been vaccinated in London meaning life will be able to get back to normal sooner. COVID-status certifications (‘vaccine passports’) are documents to show you have had both doses of the vaccine and they might give the individual who has one more freedom (without one they wouldn’t be allowed into venues such as pubs and theatres).

The introduction of them is being discussed currently to ensure the virus doesn’t spread after lockdown restrictions have been lifted. However, some people won’t take the vaccine for various reasons meaning they will not have vaccine passports. This then raises the question is it right to forbid some people from entering various places just because they have not been inoculated?

Vaccine passports initially seem beneficial because they would ensure large gatherings are safe from the virus, however, it is discrimination towards those who are not immunised. Some people are not physically able to get the vaccine for medical reasons and it is, therefore, unethical to prohibit them from enjoying fewer restrictions. Furthermore, allowing the immunised to enjoy life without lockdown while people who are not seen as a priority for vaccination continue to experience the restrictions (such as the young), would also be discriminatory.

Some people refuse the vaccine and having the jab should be a choice, but if vaccine passports are implemented, then everyone is forced to get one if they want to appreciate the same experiences as everyone else who has been inoculated. Many people feel their own personal decision about the COVID vaccine shouldn’t have to negatively impact them in this way as they live in a democratic country. Vaccine passports would essentially force citizens to be vaccinated, and there is neither moral nor fair.

Fleur Blase, a student at Wimbledon High School, agrees saying, “They should not be introduced because some people have not been offered the vaccination and if these passports are introduced it means that people cannot go and visit family and loved ones just because of vaccine shortcomings”

On the other hand, many of the countries in the EU are in support of them because they would allow tourism to increase, reopening the economy. Greece, Austria, Spain, Bulgaria and Denmark are just a few that are thinking of introducing them. Vaccine passports could allow those with them to travel freely within the EU meaning they would be beneficial to not only the country’s GDP but the people as they would be permitted to travel internationally once more.

Also, some countries want to include people who are immune as a result of having coronavirus and those who have tested negative, reducing the discriminatory aspects of the vaccine passports so this is how they could be introduced in the UK. The certifications would massively help to lift restrictions safely and this can only have positive effects.

Vaccine passports have advantages and disadvantages, but we should know if they are to be used before the 21st of June and the fourth stage of easing the lockdown.