Vaccine Passports


Introduction

In this blog, we will discuss vaccine passports, a trending global news topic in the world today. We will take a look at some basic facts and background related to the topic, examine some of the issues raised in our communities, contrast points of view, and introduce helpful vocabulary. On the SLP exam, you will be asked questions about trending topics, such as vaccine passports, so reviewing now will help you prepare and feel confident in the exam should this subject arise. The issue of vaccine passports will continue to be a relevant topic for some time to come since it has long-reaching implications for our society, so being able to talk about it easily will be an advantage for you. Below you will find examples of the types of questions you may be asked on the exam, differing points of view, issues raised, useful language, quick facts, and resources for further study.


Questions

In this section you will find examples of the kinds of questions you are likely to encounter on the SLP exam. They have been categorized as Level 2 (L2) and Level 3 (L3).

  • What is the meaning of the term “vaccine passport”? Why are several governments and private organizations interested in developing vaccine passports? (L2)
  • Describe the advantages of requiring vaccine passports for travel and large events. Describe some of the disadvantages. (L2)
    What are some of the issues that vaccine passports raise in our societies? (L2)
  • How much freedom to live life as it was before the pandemic should be given to those who have received the vaccine? (L3)
  • Given that vaccines have not yet been made available to all, will requiring vaccine passports for certain activities create more inequality in already divided societies? (L3)
  • Do you think that requiring a vaccine passport to allow for increased mobility would be an improvement over the current COVID19 restrictions and protocols? (L3)
  • How probable is it that vaccine passports will be required for international travel in the future? (L3)
  • There is still inconclusive data regarding whether or not those who have received a vaccination for COVID19 can transmit the virus. Should those who have been vaccinated be exempt from certain COVID restrictions such as mandatory quarantines or negative PCR tests when travelling domestically or abroad? (L3)
  • If you were in charge of developing COVID19 guidelines for a community of people, for what events and activities would you require a vaccine passport? (L3)

Points of View

There are varying points of view to consider when discussing trending news topics, such as vaccine passports, as communities debate the benefits and drawbacks and determine how to proceed. In this section, you will find a discussion of the varying points of view regarding vaccine passports. By reviewing this information, you will be better prepared to answer questions about the advantages and disadvantages of vaccine passports on the exam.

Supporters of the vaccine passport believe that it could help jump-start the economy by allowing sectors such as tourism and entertainment to reopen for those individuals who can prove immunization against COVID19. Making large-scale events and travel available to those who have been vaccinated may encourage more people to get the vaccine.
Standard travel documents showing COVID19 status would reduce the need for other measures such as testing and quarantine. Many countries and organizations believe that this would be an improvement over the current restrictions and protocols.

Critics question whether there is a fair and equitable way to introduce a vaccine passport and warn that requiring such a document to participate in certain activities could create more division within societies that are already deeply divided, especially since vaccines have not yet been made available to all. There is also uncertainty regarding whether or not the virus reduces transmission, so proof of immunization against COVID19 does not necessarily indicate that a person will not continue to spread it. Requiring vaccine passports for certain activities could be considered an indirect way of making immunization mandatory, which infringes on civil liberties and could lead to legal challenges.


Issues

Vaccine passports raise several issues that need to be addressed in our society at large. These big-picture topics affect several aspects of life and are connected to many other issues in our communities. Studying the information in this section will allow you to discuss the broader implications of this topic on the exam.

Introducing vaccine passports as a requirement for participation in certain activities raises the issue of access to healthcare. In many countries around the world, healthcare is expensive and not covered by the state, meaning that individuals who are unable to afford to be vaccinated or who cannot access a vaccine for other reasons would be unable to obtain a vaccine passport. This would in turn prohibit them from activities such as international travel and large-scale events.

This leads into the issue of equity. There is much debate about how to introduce a vaccine passport requirement equitably, given that not everyone has equal access to healthcare or even the COVID19 vaccine. The vaccine was only recently developed, and there are not yet enough doses manufactured to vaccinate everyone. Therefore, for much of the world’s population, it is not even possible to obtain a vaccine passport. Wealthier countries and individuals have an advantage when it comes to obtaining the vaccine, and vaccine passports would exacerbate inequalities by giving vaccinated individuals further freedoms. This could lead to even more tension within societies that are already deeply divided, and many developing countries are still years away from being able to vaccinate their entire populations.

In a world with an interconnected global economy, it is impossible to get truly back to normal before people can move around as freely as they did before. Given the challenges posed by vaccine passports, many debate whether they will facilitate global movement or further restrict it for several years to come.


Language File

In this section you will find vocabulary and word collocations that are commonly used when discussing the topic of vaccine passports. Studying the language here will help you express ideas using appropriate terminology on the exam.

  • vaccine (n.) – a substance given to provide immunity against a disease without causing the disease itself. Listen
  • vaccinate (v.t.) – to administer a vaccine, usually by injection, in order to produce immunity against a disease; common collocation: to vaccinate (someone) against (something). Listen
  • immunize (v.t.) – to provide protection against a disease by making someone immune to it; common collocation: immunize somebody/something (against something). Listen
  • immunization (n.) – the process by which an individual is safely exposed to a substance that is designed to activate their immune system against that material, often by administering a vaccine.
    vaccine passport (n.) – a standardized document demonstrating that an individual has been vaccinated against COVID19 that may be required in for travel or attendance at certain events.
  • digital vaccine passport (n.) – a standardized document demonstrating that an individual has been vaccinated against COVID19 that is stored in a digital way, such as in an app on a smartphone.
  • transmit (v.t.) – to pass something, such as a disease, from one person, place, or thing to another; common collocation: transmit (something) to (someone). Listen
  • mandatory (adj.) – obligatory or required by an authority; common collocations: mandatory for (someone) to (do something), to make (something) mandatory. Listen
  • dose (n.) – a measured portion of medicine taken at any one time.
  • back to normal (adv.) – returning to the state of things before, becoming ordinary again; common collocation: go back to normal.

Quick Facts

  • Some countries and organizations are considering using “vaccine passports” that would allow people who have been vaccinated to enjoy certain freedoms that are prohibited to those who have not, such as large-scale sporting events and international travel.
  • A vaccine passport would be a standardized document allowing people to quickly and easily prove that they have been vaccinated against COVID19.
  • Many public officials and government leaders, including US president Joe Biden and Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez, believe that vaccine certification could be an important part of getting society back to normal.
  • Private companies such as airlines and entertainment venues have also suggested plans requiring clients to show proof of vaccination prior to using their services.
  • Standardizing the documentation required for various activities would make them more accessible to many people and facilitating travel through different checkpoints and borders.
  • This may also reduce the need for other COVID19 requirements such as testing and quarantine.
  • A digital vaccine passport would allow individuals to store information about their immunization status on their phone, making it easy to access, store, and show to officials requiring proof of vaccination.

References

https://www.bbc.com/news/55970801

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/feb/07/freedom-and-fairness-covid-vaccine-passport-plans-cause-global-unease

https://www.forbes.com/sites/suzannerowankelleher/2021/02/05/these-european-countries-are-launching-vaccine-passports/?sh=1385c58f77a5

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/04/travel/coronavirus-vaccine-passports.html

https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/