skip to Main Content
BY THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL: Vaccine Pass : Yes, But With Strict Respect Of Human Rights

BY THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL: Vaccine pass : yes, but with strict respect of Human rights

This post is also available in: Italiano Español Français

While it acknowledges the usefulness of means such as “vaccination passes” that are considered or already developed by some States, as well as the legitimacy of people’s wish to gain back some of the freedoms that were restricted due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the needs for the economy, the Committee of Convention 108 recalls that such developments should not preclude strict respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. In particular, no unjustified discrimination can occur based on the fact that a person has not been vaccinated whatever the reason. Furthermore, one should keep in mind the sensitive nature of the data thus processed and the particular guaranties they should benefit from. While mindful, of course, of the importance of combatting the pandemic, it should also be recalled that alternatives to the use of such digital tools need to be made available, and that their use cannot be made mandatory.

Finally, setting up information systems (data bases) is necessary for the fight against the coronavirus, as they allow for the monitoring of the organisation of vaccination campaigns. But these systems rely on many sensitive data and it is also necessary, therefore, to ensre strict respect of the right to data protection.

The Committee of Bio-ethics of the Council of Europe delivers a similar message through a Statement on human rights considerations relevant to “vaccine pass” and assimilated documents.

“Vaccine pass”: a new statement of the Committee on Bioethics underlined the human rights challenges

At a time where vaccination campaigns are accompanied by a willingness to relax restrictions taken to protect public health against the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, the issue of a “vaccine pass” is being raised in Europe as well as in other parts of the world.

In a statement on human rights considerations relevant to a “vaccine pass” and similar documents, the Council of Europe Committee on Bioethics is calling for careful deliberation on the challenges raised by such a pass and on the steps taken to ensure that the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all individuals are promoted and protected.

The Committee distinguishes between medical and non-medical purposes for the use of such “passes” and examines the ethical and human rights issues involved, taking into account the still limited scientific knowledge

Referring to the statement of the Consultative Committee for the protection of individuals with regard to automatic processing of personal data, reference is made to issues relevant to privacy, as well as the use of such a pass for non-medical purposes, to the risk of discrimination and to the impact on social cohesion and solidarity.

Finally, the Committee on Bioethics concurs with the conclusions of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe that combating the current pandemic depends, above all, on the increased efforts to produce and administer vaccines, with particular attention to people in vulnerable situations, so that restrictions to individual freedoms and constraints imposed can be progressively reviewed as the population acquires greater immunity, taking into account acquired scientific knowledge.

Back To Top