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Recently, an idea for a vaccine passport (or as Boris Johnson prefers to call it “Covid-status certification”) was put forward in both the EU and the UK as a future measure to slowly return to the world post-Covid and unlock the countries in the safest way possible.

These certificates will be introduced in England on a trial basis from mid-April while the EU leaders backed the introduction of a “Digital Green Certificate”.

The Scottish Government is also considering issuing a certification of this nature in order to allow
trials for mass gatherings to resume in the near future. So how exactly will these passports work and
what should we expect from this initiative? The reason behind this article is our concern for how this
new measure might affect those with limited digital skills.

What exactly is a vaccine passport?

It’s a digital document that would keep record of whether or not someone had been vaccinated and
if they had recently tested for Covid, it would also include information on their immunity to the virus or a negative result of the test.

While there are many benefits to this system, for instance it would reduce the burden on the health
services as everyone could do it from home instead of having to collect a physical copy of the
certificate from their GP; it is also important to consider the fact that it puts some of us at a

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Digital inclusion

One of the main issues concerning the introduction of immunity passports is the social risk it carries
– unfortunately, it might lead to discrimination and exclusion. This would be yet another aspect of
our daily lives that requires digital skills and connectivity which might affect older people, people in
lower income groups or those with disabilities.

While there has been a lot of progress in this domain, we are aware that the issue prevails and there needs to be more effort put into initiatives like this to make them accessible to everyone.

According to the 2019 Consumer Digital Index 22% of the British population does not have the digital skills needed for everyday life in the UK and it is predicted that by 2030, 8% will still remain digitally disengaged.

Proceed with caution

The immunity passports might also cause us to raise an eyebrow due to the uncertainty that surrounds the idea of Covid-immunity. As stated by the WHO there is currently no evidence proving immunity from the virus as people who have recovered from the virus might still be prone to a second infection.

According to the organisation, introduction of such certificates might give people a false sense of security and lead to more hazardous behaviours.


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