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Ethical and legal questions of Covid-19 vaccine certificates examined

22 March 2021

The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee examines the ethical and legal questions surrounding the potential use of vaccine certificates during the Covid-19 pandemic.


Tuesday 23 March, virtual meeting

At 9.30am

  • Rt Hon David Davis MP
  • Professor Jonathan Wolff
  • Alfred Landecker Professor of Values and Public Policy, University of Oxford

'Vaccine certificates' would provide proof of vaccination to confirm an individual is at lower risk of suffering severe covid symptoms. However it is not yet known what effect the vaccine has on transmission. It has been proposed that certification could become a pre-requisite for accessing some services, public areas and even employment.

Proponents of such a scheme argue that it would speed up the reopening of the economy, reduce restrictions on social contact and improve public safety. However, there are concerns that it would be difficult to operate, be ineffective in reducing infection and place needless restrictions on civil liberties.

The Government recently wrote to the Committee indicating its intention to undertake a review “to consider to what extent certification would be effective in reducing risk”. It will announce its findings when its finding in June when it sets out step 4 of its roadmap out of lockdown.

In this evidence session, the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee will investigate the ethical and legal questions regarding the introduction of some form of vaccine certificate.

This is likely to include the risk of discrimination and the potential for vaccine certificates to morph into a wider ID programme in the future. It will also examine the possibility of private companies establishing their own vaccine certificates to utilise their services, independent of Government.

Further information

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