Science and the Public Sphere

‘Vaccine passport III: Social and economic implications’

foule science publicsphere

Speakers: Alberto Giubilini (Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics) and Carine Milcent (CNRS/PSE)
Chair: Judith Rainhorn (MFO)

The practical implementation of digital vaccine passports, which already exist for domestic use in various countries (Denmark, Israel, China, etc.), raises the question of the time frame in which it is taking place. It questions both the current state of scientific knowledge (duration of immunity, link between immunity and transmission) and the question of access to vaccination for all, by deliberate choice or by practical ability to access it. It therefore addresses the exit of the pandemics building on existing socio-economic and spatial discriminations and new unfairnesses arising from the effective access to the vaccine, from local to global scale.

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About this seminar:


Vaccine passports: finding an adequate tool to exit the Covid-19 pandemic or opening Pandora’s Box?


For one year now, the option of vaccine passports or immunity certificates has been gaining ground to allow international travel or entry into certain public or cultural places: as vaccination campaigns are rolled out at an uneven pace according to countries and continents, getting the economy moving again and reviving social and cultural life appear to be priorities. Beyond practical, technological and organisational difficulties expected, the implementation of immunity certificates may create distinctions and reinforce unfairnesses between populations, both on a local and on a global scale. What scientific, ethical, legal and social dilemmas are at stake in implementing vaccine passports? Is it an adequate but premature project, as most of the world population cannot access the vaccine? What moral, ethical and social cost are we prepared to pay to regain our freedom of movement that the pandemic has so dramatically undermined? What is at stake in the “passportisation” approach of the current sanitary crisis the world is facing?


Three sessions of the seminar 'Science and the Public Sphere', convened by the Maison française d'Oxford, will address the challenges of implementing immunity certificates amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. Each session will offer two presentations by acknowledged researchers in their field and a debate. All welcome.

Organised in collaboration with the Higher Education, Research and Innovation Department of the French Embassy in the United Kingdom.