Be it resolved: Vaccine passports are essential to stopping the spread of COVID-19 and safely reopen our economies

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As people around the world begin to contemplate life after COVID-19, governments are trying to figure out how to re-open their economies safely while the virus continues to circulate. Some countries, like Israel and Denmark, have introduced digital vaccine passports to allow residents access to indoor spaces like restaurants and movie theatres. Those in favour of these certificates argue that they are the safest, easiest, and most effective way of reopening the economy quickly. Citizens should only be allowed to participate in society if they can prove they aren’t a health risk to others. And while it is true that everyone has the right to forgo vaccination, they must also accept the limitations and consequences that come with that choice. Critics see these passports as a coercive scheme that forces people to get vaccinated, as well as a dangerous threat to personal rights and freedoms that will exacerbate society’s inequities and transfer more power into the hands of the government. The state, they say, has no right to mandate personal movements based on a medical treatment, and vaccine passports have no place in any democratic and free society.

Arguing for the motion is Ezekiel Emanuel. He is an oncologist, bioethicist, and Vice Provost for Global Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania, and a former member of Joe Biden's COVID-19 transition team.

Arguing against the motion is Natalie Kofler. She’s a molecular biologist and lecturer at Harvard Medical School, and the founding director of Editing Nature at Yale University

QUOTES:

EZEKIEL EMANUEL:

"We have long had policies of vaccine certification, and we're simply adapting those to the new 21st century and COVID."

NATALIE KOFLER:

"'Vaccine passports' add another layer of disenfranchisement and inequity towards people and countries that have been disproportionately impacted by serious issues in vaccine distribution."

Sources: 7NewsAustralia, CBS, NBC, CTV, France24

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