Courts Reject Child Vaccine Passport Proposals in South Korea


In recent days, courts in five separate South Korean cities — Daejeon, Incheon, Busan, Seoul, and Suwon — ruled against plans by local governments to require coronavirus “vaccine passports” for children aged 12 to 18 years, Yonhap News Agency reported Friday.

“The Daejeon District Court ruled in favor of 96 plaintiffs, including teenagers, who opposed the planned enforcement of the youth vaccine pass system in Daejeon,” the South Korean news agency reported on February 18.

“The Incheon District Court in Incheon … made the same ruling on the same day in a lawsuit filed by 80 citizens and activists,” according to Yonhap.

The District Court of Busan, a southern port city, also ruled against a local government plan to impose a vaccine passport system on youth aged 12 to 18 years old on February 18, according to a separate report by Yonhap.

News that courts in these three cities struck down their respective governments’ plans for youth vaccine passports followed shortly after courts in the cities of Seoul and Suwon “recently ordered that vaccine pass requirements be halted for minors aged 12-18 at all facilities,” according to Yonhap.

Reuters reported that an administrative court in Seoul, South Korea’s national capital, ruled on January 14 that a local coronavirus vaccine passport system “should not apply to teenagers using any Seoul-based facilities.”

The ruling came after a group of “more than 1,000 doctors, professors and ordinary citizens filed for an injunction … against Seoul’s mayor to suspend the mandates, which require vaccination passes or testing for entry to most public facilities except for schools,” the news outlet reported at the time.

According to Reuters, the administrative court ruled that “the mandate for teenagers lacked ‘reasonable grounds’ given their significantly low rates of serious illness and deaths from COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus].”

South Korea’s federal government on February 18 announced plans to ease unpopular curfews it has repeatedly imposed on small businesses nationwide — including restaurants and bars — over the past two years as part of its stringent anti-pandemic measures. South Korean Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum told reporters on Friday the 9:00 p.m. curfew for dining at restaurants and other businesses currently in place will extend to 10:00 p.m. for three weeks starting February 19.

“The government’s call came largely due to continued backlash from small merchants and self-employed people, who have financially suffered under the restrictions,” the Korea Herald observed on February 18.

“It was inevitable to make a change (in social distancing rules), given the deepening financial difficulties that small merchants and self-employed people are faced with,” Prime Minister Kim acknowledged on Friday.

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