A passport of immunity to coronavirus: why they are needed and how can harm society

“Immunity passport” has been proposed as a means of economic recovery after the pandemic coronavirus. The presence of so-called certificates of immunity will depend on the results of the test for antibodies to the coronavirus. If you have antibodies to the coronavirus, you can be protected from re-infection and thus can get right to work and circulate in society without risk to themselves and others. This writes NPR.

Паспорта иммунитета к коронавирусу: зачем они нужны и как могут навредить обществу

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At least that’s the idea. But it “can bring much more harm than good,” says Natalie Kofler, who teaches bioethics at Harvard medical school.

Kofler says the system, which depends on the blood test can cut the already marginalized populations from access to critical state resources, which “dictated by the immune status of the” will to decide “where they can go and what they can do.”

In any case, she said, scientists are not sure that it’s even possible to achieve immunity against coronavirus and how long this immunity will work.

“I’m really concerned that too much time and money is paid to policies that, first, most likely, will not work and will create more risks than benefits,” said Kofler.

Anyone interested in the use of “certificates of immunity”

Governments, including the UK, United States and Chile, in fact, already started to release their version of a passport of immunity.

Private companies are also interested in particular in partnership with certain developers to create applications that would allow people on their phones to check and show the status of immunity, and in this case private companies, such as certain hotels and even sporting events, you can control who can enter the room.

“Another problem that rises with this issue, is justice: the poor simply do not have access to passports immunity, says Kofler. — Those who are already marginalized by society — the poor, minority groups — end up often in a queue for access to these valuable resources. So we are very concerned with who actually will be able to confirm your immunity. There may be people who simply will not be able to access society, because they can’t even confirm your immune status.”

If a passport of immunity are not the answer, what then

“I really think we need to pay attention to to develop a vaccine, but it will also be available to the public. And I support, maybe thinking about new ways to protect particularly vulnerable areas, where the face of a lot of people,” said Kofler.

“It is possible that, for example, to enter a nursing home or in certain penitentiary institutions where there is a high density of people who have a higher risk of the disease COVID-19, will need to be tested for antibodies right there, says Kofler. But not at the individual level, where all will depend on their immune status, which will decide where to go and what to do. I think it can bring much more harm than good.”

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