Passports are intended to restrict travel to only those who have been properly documented. Vaccine passports are intended to restrict access to anyone who isn’t vaccinated. Is this a good or a bad idea?
Full disclosure – I am fully vaccinated and therefore have my “vaccine passport.” I have no personal dog in this fight. But there are good arguments against vaccine passports and it’s time for this discussion.
Martin Kulldorff and Jay Bhattacharya are two of the three authors of The Great Barrington Declaration. Kulldorff, from Harvard University, and Bhattacharya, from Stanford University, have been outspoken opponents of lockdowns. (see Epidemiologists Reject Political Correctness) These scientists have pushed back because of the unscientific basis and destructive impact lockdowns have had on the physical and emotional health of millions of Americans, not to mention the economic disaster they have caused. Now they are outspoken in their criticism of vaccine passports.
Writing in The Wall Street Journal, these authors say vaccine passports are promoted as a way of easing coercive lockdown restrictions, but in fact they will be the opposite. Vaccinepassports will be used for restricting much more than travel. They will also be used to restrict access to restaurants, theaters, sports arenas, offices, and schools.
To understand their argument, consider restaurants. Most have already reopened in most states in the U.S. A vaccine passport would prohibit entry by potential customers who haven’t received their shots. It would also restrict the freedom of those vaccinated if their dinner partners have not been vaccinated. Planes and trains, which have continued to operate throughout the pandemic, would suddenly be off limits to anyone without a passport. This is, in effect, a coercive effort by the government to force people to be vaccinated.
I am a strong proponent of vaccination. I have encouraged everyone to get vaccinated unless their doctor believes they have a medical condition that prohibits vaccination. Those people will fortunately benefit from herd immunity once that has been achieved. To require vaccine passports for them would restrict their personal freedom unnecessarily.
The authors say, “The idea that everybody needs to be vaccinated is as scientifically baseless as the idea that nobody does. Covid vaccines are essential for older, high-risk people and their caretakers and advisable for many others. But those who’ve been infected are already immune. The young are at low risk, and children – for whom no vaccine has been approved anyway – are at far less risk of death than from the flu. If authorities mandate vaccination of those who don’t need it, the public will start questioning vaccines in general.”
This issue also destroys trust. When the government mandates you must do something, the public tends to react with distrust. They think, “If this is so good for me, why are they forcing me to do it?” Vaccines are good, but the public must be given the freedom to make that decision on their own.
The authors also say, “Vaccine passports are unjust and discriminatory. Most of those endorsing the idea belong to the laptop class – privileged professionals who worked safely and comfortably at home during the epidemic. Millions of Americans did essential jobs at their usual workplaces and became immune the hard way. Now they would be forced to risk adverse reactions from a vaccine they don’t need. Passports would entice young, low-risk professionals, in the West and the developing world, to get the vaccine before older, higher-risk but less affluent members of society. Many unnecessary deaths would result.”
History is filled with vaccination successes against devastating illnesses like polio, measles, mumps, rubella, rabies and many others. Vaccination passports could undermine public trust in vaccines and threaten all this progress. It is good for politicians like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Texas Governor Greg Abbott to push pack against vaccine passports.
What do you believe? Let me know your responses.