Vaccination passport benefits public health, but under certain conditions

The premise that vaccination is a voluntary choice remains unchanged. It is justified however, that consequences can be attached to non-vaccination, writes André den Exter, associate professor of Health Law at Erasmus School of Law, in the Nederlands Dagblad. Without a vaccination passport, which entails proof of vaccination against COVID-19, access to events, childcare centers or, for example, sports clubs could be refused, provided a number of conditions are met.

Refusing unvaccinated people is allowed in the interest of public health because this group is spreading the virus. However, there are several conditions that such a measure must meet. First, everyone must have had the opportunity to be vaccinated. Second, a less radical alternative must not be available. Alternatives such as quick-tests should be offered, provided this does not place an unreasonable burden on the person who has to facilitate this. The starting point for refusal is that the aim is in reasonable proportion to the measure.

In the opinion piece, Den Exter points out that introducing a vaccination passport could be justified, for example, in care institutions for the mentally disabled, where an insufficient amount of employees have been vaccinated. In that case, there is no discrimination against non-vaccinated healthcare workers, as unequal cases may by their nature be treated unequally. Here, too, however, it applies that possible alternatives must also be considered. For a sports club for example, the threshold for refusing someone is higher: “Boards may not be willing to take such a measure, but if members cancel because of the unsafe environment, they will have to change tack. The same applies to the catering industry: they are not yet enthusiastic about introducing a vaccination passport, but if customers stay away, such a measure will eventually offer new opportunities. ”

Den Exter does not expect that such a passport will be issued from The Hague in the short term, as the current cabinet is demissionary and this subject has been classed as controversial. However, companies, associations and other institutions can also introduce such a passport themselves. Let the market do its thing, says Den Exter.

Associate professor
More information

The entire opinion piece by André den Exter can be read here (in Dutch).