airport coronavirus
© Leon Neal/Getty Images
Oxford team believes vaccine passports system is 'feasible' but should not be introduced yet because of a lack of uniform standards
A coronavirus vaccination may be required before every foreign holiday under an international system of vaccine passports, experts have said.

The Oxford University team behind a new report believe uncertainty over how long vaccines confer immunity and how well they stand up against new Covid variants could prompt countries to demand proof of a recent vaccination for overseas travellers.

Comment: Why are they formulating policy based on experimental vaccines that needed emergency legislation because they have not been proven to be safe nor effective?

They believe that, overall, a system of vaccine passports is "feasible" but that a lack of uniform international standards means one should not yet be introduced.

Comment: Clearly that's not the only hurdle.

In a report, published on Friday in the Royal Society journal, the scientists said more information is needed on the effectiveness of coronavirus vaccines in preventing infection and transmission, as well as duration of the protective immunity they provide, in order to establish how long a passport might be valid.

In recent days, government ministers have indicated that they would co-operate with a system of vaccine passports if it allowed Britons to travel abroad.

Comment: And it appears that the UK government will not just be participating in this scheme but they are aiming to be one of those very countries that forces entrants to have a vaccine passport.

However, they have said there are no plans to introduce a domestic regime that could regulate whether people get entry to public spaces such as pubs or cinemas.

Comment: The government also said they would 'allow' the country to celebrate Christmas with their loved ones, then at the last minute they locked down. By this point, they've said many things and done the opposite. Why believe them now? Particularly when all the evidence points the contrary: 'Papers, please': Vaccine Passports have officially arrived

Christopher Dye, professor of epidemiology in the Department of Zoology at Oxford and one of the lead authors on the report said: "An effective vaccine passport system that would allow the return to pre-Covid activities, including travel, without compromising personal or public health, must meet a set of demanding criteria - but it is feasible.

"If we thought that the duration of protection was just a matter of months, then the sort of criteria that might be introduced - we're not saying they should be - is that when one travels internationally for a short trip, going on vacation for example, that one is vaccinated each time on that occasion for that particular trip."

The researchers stressed that a "broader discussion" was needed about some key aspects of the document, such as the need for legal and ethical standards alongside conversations about data privacy.

Prof Melinda Mills, the director of the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science at Oxford and another lead author, said: "Understanding what a vaccine passport could be used for is a fundamental question - is it literally a passport to allow international travel or could it be used domestically to allow holders greater freedoms?

Comment: So MPs says it won't be used domestically but the researchers they often take their cue from suggest it could be used domestically...

"The intended use will have significant implications across a wide range of legal and ethical issues that need to be fully explored and could inadvertently discriminate or exacerbate existing inequalities.

Comment: This is because partly about the high percentage of ethnic minorities that are rejecting the vaccines: Minorities reject UK's experimental Covid-19 jab, inoculation centre closes early due to lack of volunteers

"International standardisation is one of the criteria we believe essential, but we have already seen some countries introducing vaccine certificates related to travel or linked to quarantine or attending events. We need a broader discussion about multiple aspects of a vaccine passport, from the science of immunity through to data privacy, technical challenges and the ethics and legality of how it might be used."

Comment: Meanwhile other countries, such as Russia, say that herd immunity will have been achieved by summer, so it's likely they have no need for such a nefarious scheme.

The report sets out 12 key points that need to be satisfied in order to deliver a vaccine passport. These include the stipulation that the passports have defined usages, with safeguards against data being used for ancillary purposes.