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Immunity Passports May Not be The Answer

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned today of the risks associated with the idea of so-called ‘immunity passports,’ pointing out that currently there is no evidence that people who have recovered from Covid-19 cannot become reinfected.

‘Immunity passports’ or ‘health certificates’ is being seen as a way of perceiving the level of immunity in a given community and allowing people who have coronavirus antibodies to return to work, but WHO considers that more research is needed on this issue. A UN Health Agency report backs this up by saying that “at this point in the pandemic there is not enough evidence on the effectiveness of immunity” through the presence of antibodies to formalise the use of “immunity passports” or a “risk-free certificates.”

The WHO also warns that people who assume they are immune to reinfection by Covid-19 may tend to ignore the advice of public health authorities, so that these ‘passports’ may increase the risk of continuous transmission of the virus. While the UN Health Agency believes that “additional validation is required to determine accuracy and reliability”.

To combat the pandemic, governments sent 4.5 billion people home (more than half the world’s population), closed non-essential trade and drastically reduced air traffic, paralysing entire sectors of the world economy. Faced with a decrease of new cases, some countries, such as Denmark, Austria, Spain and Germany, are gradually alleviating some of their containment measures.

Samantha Gannon

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