Vaccine passports: Human rights Vs Public interest - | Hudson McKenzie


Vaccine passports: Human rights Vs Public interest

The UK government has made it their mission to vaccinate as many people as possible in a certain time period in the fight against the coronavirus. As such, the government has mapped out dates in which restrictions may be lifted as a result of the success of the vaccine programme. However, the bottom line is, the COVID vaccine is not compulsory and many are unable to have it due to allergies.

What are vaccine passports?

Currently, those who have had the vaccine receive a card to confirm this, which will also be reflected in their medical records. A vaccine passport may be introduced which would show that someone has had the coronavirus vaccine. There have been suggestions that the vaccine passport could feature in the current NHS track and trace app so that people can easily prove if they have been vaccinated. 

Are other countries introducing a vaccine passport?

It is highly likely that in future, many countries will require proof of being vaccinated. Some countries have announced intentions to introduce a vaccine passport including:

  • Denmark
  • Sweden
  • Australian airline Quantas have said they will implement this to allow people to board their flights
  • Israel have a “green”digital vaccine certificate

Is the vaccine passport a breach of human rights?

As the vaccine is not mandatory and people have the choice of receiving the jab, some questions have been raised in terms of whether a vaccine passport would restrict the rights of people who do not want to have the coronavirus vaccine. The UK government has said that a passport could allow individuals to attend sports stadiums, concerts, bars to help venues become more Covid-secure. However, this begs the question, does this mean that those who have refused the jab are not allowed to attend venues?

If this is the case, there could be an argument for a breach of freedom of choice. There is a petition against the vaccine passports as it is suggested that it could affect “societal cohesion.” 

Is the vaccine passport in the public interest?

On the flip side, if venues are due to reopen, no one wants a repeat of last year and for the country to have to go into yet another lockdown situation. Lockdown affects individuals’ wellbeing, along with productivity and the economy. Therefore, it could be suggested that these vaccine passports are in the public interest to be implemented as it’s aim is to protect the population from further spread of the virus.

Additionally, if many countries introduce the vaccine passport and it is required for travel, it is in public interest to have these vaccine passports available so that individuals can travel freely. 

Should you have any queries regarding the above information or if you require assistance with your corporate, employment or immigration matter, please get in touch with a legal professional at Hudson McKenzie via email at or by telephone +44(0) 20 3318 5794.

The information provided does not amount to legal advice.