SANTIAGO – Chilean Minister of Health Jaime Mañalich announced this week the “immunity passports” will be postponed until further notice. The measure, meant to stimulate the economy, could cause discrimination in the country’s job market. Health experts in earlier stages of the analysis had also warned of the lack of scientific evidence for the passports.
Just days before the Chile was set to become the first country in the world to issue “immunity passports,” Health Minister Jaime Mañalich announced the government would postpone the endeavor. According to the minister, “the passports could trigger a fairly severe problem of discrimination” in the job market.
Although the measure was originally designed to stimulate Chile’s economy, there is now an overriding concern that people without a passport will be at a disadvantage when applying for jobs. It remains to be seen whether the cards will be issued in the future.
Health experts from the Chilean Medical Association cheered the government’s decision. The association’s vice-president, Patricio Meza, called the decision “a positive one,” but lamented the time and money lost in debating the measure while scientific evidence was lacking.
Chile had previously received indirect criticism from the World Health Organization, which stated, “Some governments have suggested that the detection of antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, could serve as the basis for an ‘immunity passport’ or ‘risk-free certificate’ that would enable individuals to travel or to return to work assuming that they are protected against re-infection. There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection.”
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today. He worked in Colombia, Surinam and the Netherlands as reporter and works with international media during major events, like the social crisis, the elections and the Pope’s visit.