It has already been over a year since the pandemic turned our lives upside down and governments severely curtailed our individual freedoms. Thankfully, the vaccination campaign is now in full swing, so we can hope for a return to a better quality of life in the near future. A new publication launched by the Montreal Economic Institute argues for the introduction of a non-mandatory, decentralized vaccine passport to help make this happen.
"The sacrifices the population has been asked to make are enormous, and they lose their legitimacy when they can be safely eliminated. This is exactly what is occurring with the vaccination campaign that's now in high gear," says Miguel Ouellette, Director of Operations and Economist at the MEI. "Countries like Israel have already put in place a vaccine passport, and many others, including those in the European Union, are about to follow suit."
Ouellette adds that it's even more important to have a vaccine passport given that it will likely be impossible for Canadians to travel outside the country without one. “We're already seeing countries like Israel and Bahrain mutually recognizing each other's vaccine passports. Clearly, this will be the new normal, just as many countries require proof of vaccination against yellow fever."
The issue is determining the best way to proceed. “Currently, Canadian provinces do not all use the same tools for digitizing their health care systems, and these systems don't talk to each other. It is therefore unlikely that the federal government will be able to provide a quick and effective solution. If you have any doubts about that, just think of the Phoenix pay system," says Maria Lily Shaw, Economist at the MEI.
"Fortunately, numerous entrepreneurs have already created mobile apps to allow us to provide proof of immunization using our smartphones. This decentralized approach is the most feasible one, and the least costly."
The Viewpoint entitled "For a Decentralized Vaccine Passport" is available on the MEI website.
— Montreal Economic Institute