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International: CoE issues guidance on vaccine passports and human rights

The Council of Europe ('CoE') announced, on 14 April 2021, that it had issued a guidance document to the European governments of all 47 member states on the safeguarding of human rights in the context of vaccine passports for COVID-19. In particular, the Council of Europe discussed the four following themes:

  • basis for the obligation of states to provide access to immunisation;
  • vaccination certificates or 'vaccine passports' and their use;
  • privacy and data protection; and
  • security and public health risks.

Further, the CoE emphasised, among other things, the importance of harmonising or facilitating the process of certifying that someone is vaccinated, immune, or infection free provided that personal data is protected and measures to prevent counterfeiting are taken. More specifically, the CoE noted that it had invited member states to take action in line with the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data ('Convention 108') and the Convention on Cybercrime ('the Budapest Convention'), among others.

You can read the press release here and the guidance document here.