Are vaccine passports legal in a post-COVID-19 era? Let our experts explain

Are vaccine passports legal in a post-COVID-19 era? Let our experts explain

January 7, 20212 min read

As America and the world look to slowly round the corner of the safety measures enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic, the new coronavirus vaccines are giving hope of an eventual return to normal.

However, with an active anti-vaccination movement afoot and many still skeptical of getting that essential poke in the arm, the World Health Organization said some government officials are suggesting the idea of vaccine passports. A simple piece of identification would end the uncertainty that comes with travel, work and the much sought-after leisure that often means crowded places and smaller spaces.

The idea has already caught on in countries in Europe and South America. It may be the safety blanket many seek, but are vaccine passports actually legal? It is a question that’s beginning to get serious coverage.

“Having proof of vaccination can be essential for a number of sectors other than health, but we cannot overlook the potential discriminatory consequences that may arise,” said Dr. William Hatcher, an expert in public policy and interim chair of the Department of Social Sciences at Augusta University.

Another idea being floated is immunity passports, but Hatcher suggests¬ allowing only people with immunity to work might disadvantage those who haven’t gotten sick or those without the antibodies to prove it. It’s as if, in the eyes of their employer, their lack of infection constitutes a disability. The inequality that immunity passports could foster in these situations may be illegal under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

There are also other ethical, practical, and cultural aspects to consider as well. If you are covering this emerging topic and are looking to know more, our experts can help.

Dr. Hatcher is a professor of political science and interim chair of Augusta University’s Department of Social Sciences. He is an expert in the areas of public administration and social, economic, and political institutions in local communities.

Hatcher is available to speak with media regarding the concept of vaccination and immunity passports. To arrange an interview, simply click on his name.

Connect with:
  • William Hatcher, PhD, MPA
    William Hatcher, PhD, MPA Chair of the Department of Social Sciences

    Dr. William Hatcher focuses on public administration and social, economic and political institutions in local communities.

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