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British bioethicist: Vaccine passports could lead to ‘unethical coercion’

(Crux) LEICESTER, United Kingdom – So-called “vaccine passports” could lead to an “unethical coercion” of citizens, according to the head of the UK’s leading Catholic bioethics center.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has floated the idea of a “COVID-status certification” to help reopen the British economy and reduce restrictions on social contact.

Nicknamed “vaccine passports,” the policy would require people prove they have received a vaccine in order to enter certain places of public accommodation, such as pubs and restaurants.

Over 30 million people in the UK have received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, with everyone over 50 being invited to be vaccinated. The government says everyone over 18 will be offered their first dose of the vaccine by mid-July. Only around 3 million people have received the second dose, since the UK is giving a 11–12-week gap between the two doses, as recommended for the vaccines approved in the country.

England has taken a cautious approach to lifting lockdown restrictions imposed in January. Stay-at-home instructions were only lifted on Monday, allowing for up to 6 people or 2 households to meet outdoors. Shops and outdoor eateries will be allowed to reopen on April 12. The government says all legal limits on social contact will be lifted on June 21, if things go according to plan.