As COVID-19 vaccines launch, digital certificates seen deepening inequalities

As COVID-19 vaccines launch, digital certificates seen deepening inequalities

As COVID-19 vaccines are rolled out worldwide, a push for identity proofs and digital certificates risks excluding poorer and vulnerable groups from vaccination and the benefits that come with it, according to rights experts.

India announced guidelines this week for the first phase of vaccinations for about 300 million people, requiring eligible recipients to first register online with photo-identity documents, including the Aadhaar digital ID.

Meanwhile, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the lobby group of the world’s airlines, said it would launch a digital health travel pass early next year that will include passengers’ COVID-19 vaccination data.

But insisting on a digital ID to get the vaccine, or certificates as proof of having had it, could mean some people are excluded, and raises privacy and surveillance concerns, said Tom Fisher, a senior researcher at non-profit Privacy International.

“We’re seeing these new measures being put in place with little concern for human rights or their discriminatory impact,” he said, adding that such requirements will likely stay on long after the end of the current pandemic, further entrenching bias.

“Linking healthcare to national IDs is deeply problematic, and the reach of a digital health pass extends far beyond the airport. There are millions around the world who lack access to these systems, often the most vulnerable,” Fisher added.

READ ALSO: COVID-19 second wave: lockdown will be last resort — NEC

Access to the vaccines is already skewed: nine out of 10 people in dozens of poor nations may not get vaccinated next year because rich countries have hoarded far more doses than they need, campaigners said last week.

Meanwhile, more technology firms are rolling out digital certificates that can be accessed on smartphones by employers, airlines and others, as proof of vaccination is sought not just to travel, but also to work or take part in other activities.

Vanguard News Nigeria

The post As COVID-19 vaccines launch, digital certificates seen deepening inequalities appeared first on Vanguard News.





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