Spain’s Supreme Court made waves last week by becoming the first judicial authority in Europe to rule against the use of covid passports to restrict access to public spaces — specifically hospitality businesses (bars, restaurants and nightclubs). It is not the first Spanish court to come out against vaccine passports but it is the most important. So far, only five of Spain’s 17 autonomous regions – the Canary Islands, Ceuta and Melilla, Andalusia, Cantabria and Galicia – have proposed using vaccine passports to restrict access to public spaces. And all have been rejected by local judges.
Interestingly, the Supreme Court also said that using vaccine passports to control access to public spaces and services may not even help prevent infections. In fact, it may exacerbate them, given that recent research has shown that people who have been vaccinated or previously infected with Covid-19 can still catch and spread the virus. As such, implementing a vaccine passport system does not protect others from infection, including those who gain access to a public space by presenting a negative result of a PCR test. Such a document, the court said, “only proves that at the time of the test these people were not carrying the active virus”.