Saint Lucia is in the process of facilitating the implementation of vaccination passports for persons who want it.
“We’re just facilitating it for those persons who do want to have it. Many persons who are going to travel are realizing that it is going to be a requirement to be able to travel. Certainly, it would be easier to travel with a vaccine than travelling without a vaccine. We certainly want to make sure as a government that we are facilitating that process,” Prime Minister Allen Chastanet said this week.
The Prime Minister announced that the Government Modernisation Unit had been working with the Ministry of Health for the past three weeks in creating a digital database for vaccine certification.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated its position on the implementation of COVID-19 vaccination passports for international travel. Dr. Mike Ryan, Executive Director of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, said on Monday March 15th, that certification of vaccination for international travel is not justified at this present time. This pronouncement, he said, was made on the basis that vaccines were inequitably distributed, and hence not widely available.
The WHO stated, that although vaccination certificates serve as a useful instrument for governments to monitor the coverage of vaccinations, special care should be taken so as not to create an iniquitous situation in terms of what unvaccinated persons are allowed and not allowed to do on a national or international level, such as travelling, attending school or participating in certain activities.
Dr. Mike Ryan stated, “We need vaccination policies that don’t create in themselves inequity, and we need to be very very careful that the process of certifying vaccination does not result in personal freedoms or human rights being impeded in any way that is not justified.”
He continued, “There are potential benefits from having certification of vaccination but there are also potential downsides, because we have to understand at the center of this, there is personal choice, there is the issue that mandating anything in health requires a very very strong justification for that mandate, and whether or not someone has the right to do certain things after vaccination again requires deep thought.”
The WHO said that it was currently working around the policies that were needed to manage the affairs relating to vaccination passports, and highlighted that every country may take slightly different views on the policies depending on the proportion of its population which has been vaccinated.