North Carolina Exploring Vaccine Passport Option
April 19, 2021
New York launched a smartphone app that allows businesses to know if a person has been vaccinated or has tested negative for COVID-19. A CBS 17 article titled "NY Introduces Vaccine Passport – Should NC Follow Suit?"
explores such technologies' ethical concerns and legal implications. Nita Farahany, an assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health and the Global Health Institute at Duke, says vaccine passports could boost the economy as it gives a sense of safety to people and believes it doesn't need to be politicized.
Though vaccine passports may have their advantages, Farahany also says we need to look at the risks of implementing such passports. A couple of those concerns are a potentially false sense of security and risk of letting our guard down, equity/exclusion concerns, the disproportionate burden on minority populations, the lack of full regulatory approval of drugs, and privacy concerns about using these apps. Dr. Farahany says that since the vaccine is not widely accessible to everyone, it can create an equity issue as people can feel they are being left out of society. Although international travelers are often required to prove such vaccination, the documentations are easier to get since those are FDA approved. The COVID-19 vaccines, while authorized for emergency use, are not FDA approved.
While the White House has said they have no plans to implement a vaccine passport or mandate vaccines, Governor Roy Cooper said the state is working on a plan for those who want it. Whereas Cooper says we need to be careful with civil liberties and privacy and that the department is working on the best way to do that, the concern is with entities having access to someone's health care information. Dr. Farahany warns that it could lead to more problems in the future if the implementation is set up without thoughtful deliberation.
To learn more, make sure you head over to the full article here: NY Introduces Vaccine Passport – Should NC Follow Suit?