At the international level, proof of vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 offers an enticing promise to the return of normality, particularly for the much-desired reopening of national borders. At the same time, vaccination passports could be a false hope: The requirement of vaccine passports could adversely embed social and economic inequalities that reflect the power dynamics in international relations. Specifically, the ability to secure vaccines relates to the varying market and economic power across countries. This paper focuses on Taiwan as a case study to explore ways in which the use of COVID-19 certifications, if used as a precondition for international travel, would further exacerbate a binary of exclusion and inclusion as a function of geopolitics. With its relative success in containing the COVID-19 pandemic within its borders, Taiwan represents a low priority for vaccine distribution in the COVAX initiative. Furthermore, due to Taiwan's contentious political status and its exclusion from the World Health Organization regime, if vaccination passports are required as a precondition for international travel, then outbound passengers from Taiwan potentially could be subjected to restriction of movement absent wide availability of vaccines domestically. This paper argues that insofar as sustainable pandemic control requires a global concerted effort, vaccination passports could further polarise a global response. This paper suggests that equitable access to effective vaccines worldwide and governance reform of global health would help to rebuild global solidarity and mitigate the unimaginable human, social and economic suffering arising from the pandemic.
ASJC Scopus subject areas