Outrage over vaccine passports 'an overreaction,' claims medical expert

17 April 2021, 10:22 | Updated: 17 April 2021, 10:25

Outrage over vaccine passports 'an overreaction'

By Seán Hickey

Widespread uproar over the possible rollout of vaccine passports is ill advised, suggests this medical ethics professor.

Andrew Castle addressed criticisms coming from Anglican and Catholic clergy who have branded the use of vaccine passports "unethical." He spoke to Professor of medical ethics at Oxford University, Dominic Wilkinson.

Andrew asked whether the UK has become "a surveillance state" as the rollout of vaccine passports becomes an even greater likelihood.

Professor Wilkinson claimed that "that seems to be an overreaction," but stressed that "it's going to depend on how that information is used," as whether or not the use of the pass is ethical.

"We do want our health information to be personal, to be confidential, to be safeguarded," he pointed out, and if vaccine passports threaten this, then their use will come under further scrutiny.

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The medical ethics expert pointed out the clear benefit of using vaccine passports as the pandemic still rages: "If I've got some proof that I've got the vaccine – which I have – I could potentially provide that to say 'I shouldn't have to spend two weeks in a hotel quarantine."

While he understood the use for foreign travel, Andrew was concerned by the more general clampdown on freedoms during the pandemic.

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He wondered if Professor Wilkinson was concerned about Brits getting their civil liberties back.

"We've given up a whole lot of our freedoms for good reasons, and those reasons are to protect others in our community," he argued.

Professor Wilkinson accepted however that while the sacrifice of some liberties "has been worthwhile, it has been at great cost," not only in our social lives, but also for the number of people who have died from the virus, suggesting the use of vaccine passports are a small price to pay to prevent further losses.