Easing COVID-19 Restrictions

Provided below are examples of (a) countries or private sector actors exploring ways to demonstrate potential immunity to COVID-19, (b) countries or public sector actors changing policies in response to COVID-19 vaccinations, (c) countries or public sector actors changing general restrictions, (d) countries or public sector actors changing workplace restrictions, and (e) countries or public sector actors changing policies regarding other private services.

Countries or Private Sector Actors Exploring Ways to Demonstrate Potential Immunity to COVID-19

1. World Health Access: VAX Passbook and VAX Passcard

  • World Health Access, an International Health and Wellness subsidiary, announced on December 15, 2020 the release of its VAX Passbook, a vaccine verification booklet, and VAX Passcard, a biometric vaccine verification card.
  • Individuals can use any of these patented products to show that they have already been inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine.

2. United Kingdom, Mvine, and iProov: COVID-19 Immunity and Vaccination Passport

  • Mvine and iProov, both companies that specialize in biometric identification and identity management, announced on January 13, 2021 that they have begun testing their COVID-19 immunity and vaccination passport, an app that the British people could use to prove, without disclosing their identity, that they have received the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The app, partly funded by Innovate UK, makes use of facial verification technology.

3. Denmark: COVID-19 Vaccine Passport

  • There was news on January 11, 2021 that Denmark, particularly the Danish Ministry of Health, is developing a COVID-19 passport that Danish people can print from the Danish eHealth Portal.
  • The COVID-19 passport is a self-print pass that is similar in appearance to the country’s test pass.

4. IBM, Salesforce: Digital Health Pass

  • IBM and Salesforce have teamed up to provide employers with a way to verify an employee’s health credentials such as vaccination status and test results.
  • The Digital Health Pass, a blockchain-enabled mobile app, integrates with the employee management platform of Salesforce.

5. Saudi Arabia: Health Passport

  • There was news on January 7, 2021 that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had introduced a digital health passport, a solution that the country’s Ministry of Health makes available through its Tawakkalna app.
  • The passport serves as proof that an individual has received the COVID-19 vaccine and has immunity to the virus.

6. Healthvana, Los Angeles County: Vaccine Passport

  • Healthvana, a patient health information company, and Los Angeles County have worked together to develop a COVID-19 vaccination tracking system whose records can be used as a vaccine passport or a “verifiable proof of vaccination.”
  • The passport serves as a supplement to the paper reminder card that an individual receives upon receiving his or her first COVID-19 vaccine dose.

7. VST Enterprises: V-Health Passport

  • VST Enterprises, a British technology company, has launched V-Health Passport, a five-in-one app that individuals can use to prove their COVID-19 test status, vaccination status, and other credentials.
  • The app, which is the first of its kind in the world, has a contact tracing feature too.

8. CLEAR: Health Pass

  • There was news on December 8, 2020 that the LA Football Club is set to use Health Pass, the immunity credentialing app of biometric identity specialist CLEAR.
  • CLEAR started expanding into immunity credentialing in May 2020.

9. Hong Kong

  • Hong Kong is developing an e-booking system for COVID-19 vaccinations and is mulling the use of records from this system for travel.

10. European Union

  • The European Union is contemplating the use of a vaccine passport or certificate for travel that can be used in all its member states.

Countries or Public Sector Actors Changing Policies in Response to COVID-19 Vaccinations

1. Spain

  • There was news on December 29, 2020 that Spain will not make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory but will create a list of all individuals refusing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The list will not be shared with employers or the public but will be shared with other members of the European Union.

2. Australia

  • Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced in August 2020 that the COVID-19 vaccine would be “as mandatory as [one] can possibly make,” but he changed his mind a day after and clarified that the vaccination will not be compulsory and will be encouraged through measures and incentives instead.
  • One measure being explored at the time was a “no jab, no pay” policy that excludes individuals refusing to be vaccinated from receiving certain tax benefits.

3. Chile

  • On January 7, 2021, lawmakers in Chile introduced a bill that would help the country achieve herd immunity and make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory.
  • The bill would introduce changes to Chile’s health code.

4. France

  • There was news on November 18, 2020 that France was mulling the idea of making COVID-19 vaccination mandatory.
  • A poll in September 2020 showed that only 59% of French people are ready to be inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine.

5. Turkey

  • Turkey’s health minister announced last December that the Turkish government will not require Turkish people to be inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine but will do everything it can to convince them to take the vaccine.

6. Bavaria, Germany

  • There was news on December 1, 2020 that Markus Soder, the state premier of Bavaria, was mulling the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination of healthcare frontliners such as hospital staff and people working in nursing homes.
  • According to Soder, many healthcare workers are skeptical about vaccination.

Countries or Public Sector Actors Changing General Restrictions

1. Brazil

  • The Federal Supreme Court of Brazil recently ruled that cities, states, and the federal government can implement restrictions for Brazilians who refuse to be inoculated with the COVID-19.
  • For example, a city may restrict such individuals from entering public places.

2. Israel

  • In December 2020, Israel was thinking about whether to impose restrictions on Israelis who refuse to be vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The restrictions it was considering include preventing these people from flying, dining at restaurants, attending certain events, frequenting cultural venues, and entering hospital wards and intensive care units unless they have a recent negative COVID-19 test result.

3. France

  • In December 2020, there was a draft law in France banning people who refuse to be vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine from using the country’s public transport system.
  • This draft law was strongly criticized by opposition politicians, however.

Countries or Public Sector Actors Changing Workplace Restrictions

1. United Arab Emirates

  • The UAE government issued a circular on December 31, 2020 mandating employees going to the office to take a nasal swab test every 14 days and exempting employees who have already been vaccinated against the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The circular also mandates that companies contracting with the government should have their employees vaccinated against the COVID-19 vaccine.

2. Canada

  • The Canadian government does not obligate employees in Canada to take the COVID-19 vaccine, but in a recent labor arbitration case, an arbitrator upheld a nursing home’s unilateral policy of requiring its employees to undergo bi-weekly mandatory COVID-19 testing.
  • This suggests that employers may make regular COVID-19 testing mandatory for employees, especially those who refuse to be vaccinated against the virus.

3. Brazil

  • The Federal Supreme Court of Brazil recently ruled that the Brazilian government has the right to require Brazilians to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Based on this ruling, the Brazilian government has the responsibility to prioritize the collective good over the personal interests of some individuals.

Countries or Public Sector Actors Changing Policies Regarding Other Private Services

1. Germany

  • There were discussions about developing a vaccine passport that Germans could use to gain access to cinemas, concerts, flights, and restaurants.
  • Thomas Mertens, the person heading the country’s Standing Commission on Vaccination, floated the idea immediately after the European Union rolled out its vaccination program, and believed establishments or businesses could ask their customers to present proof of vaccination.

2. Greece

  • There was news on January 12, 2021 that Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the prime minister of Greece, wrote to Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, to propose that the European Union roll out a vaccination certificate.
  • Mitsotakis believes that the vaccination certificate should be a requirement for travel and that people inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine should be able to travel freely.

3. United Kingdom

  • In November 2020, Nadim Zahawi, the country’s business minister and newly appointed vaccine czar, floated the idea of providing general practitioners and businesses such as bars, cinemas, restaurants, and sports venues a way to determine if a patient or customer has already received the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Businesses could use said system to limit entry only to those who have already been vaccinated.
Glenn is the Lead Operations Research Analyst at The Digital Momentum with experience in research, statistical data analysis and interview techniques. A holder of degree in Economics. A true specialist in quantitative and qualitative research.

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