Should The U.S. Consider Immunity Passports For Those Who Recover From COVID-19? Bioethicists Say No

Keith Johnson
May 28, 2020 - 7:51 am

    CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- There is solidarity in the fight against COVID-19, but there is an ethical split when it comes to immunity passports.

    Several countries are experimenting with so-called immunity passports to allow people to return to work and travel, but will the U.S. be one of them? 

    Bioethicists are at odds with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is curious about immunity passports for work and travel. 

    According to CBS 2, as antibody testing becomes more widely available, some countries are considering asking people to carry proof that they’re immune. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases weighed in on the possibility.

    “This is something that’s being discussed,” Fauci said. “I think it may actually have some merit, under certain circumstances.”

    But, Dr. Kelly Michelson, the Director of the Center of Bioethics and Medical Humanities at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine disagrees. 

    “With the level of knowledge that we have, I don’t think it would be very responsible,” Michelson told CBS 2.

    She said there isn’t enough evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection.

    Plus, Dr. Michelson said there are also ethical issues.

    “You’d have to get the test, so unless it’s given free to all 330 million people in the country, you’d see that people with more resources would be more likely to get the test,” Michelson said.

    Dr. Michelson argues it isn’t in line with the science.

    “I don’t think that’s a very scientifically-based approach, so I think we should be the leaders about how to approach this challenge using the facts and the science,” she said.