There is much talk across the country about establishing vaccine passports as a way to provide evidence of vaccination for COVID-19 – all for a still experimental vaccine for a virus that is 99.98% recoverable.
“The vaccine passport should be understood not as an easing of restrictions but as a coercive scheme to encourage vaccination. The idea that everybody needs to be vaccinated is as scientifically baseless as the idea that nobody does,” a Wall Street Journal op ed says.
Yet, Dr. Clayton Chau, director of the Orange County Health Care Agency and acting county health officer has proposed a pilot program for “vaccine passports” in Orange County – a “show-me-your-papers” or “digital passport” program to provide COVID vaccination evidence.
What could go wrong with the Orange County Health Care Agency planning a pilot program to figure out how proving immunity would work in the real world?
Othena is a private company that the Orange County Health Care Agency will allow to collect personal medical data and sell it or share it. Many worry this could be a prelude to a social credit system like China’s where they regulate the citizens’ behavior based on a point system.
The coronavirus is not smallpox, which killed 300 million people in the 20th century. This is all for a virus that is 99.98% recoverable. Talk of a vaccine passport sounds wholly un-American and rather nefarious.
Additionally, the vaccine passport is a violation of HIPAA, as is contact tracing.
The Orange County Register first reported on this Monday:
“Dr. Clayton Chau, the agency’s director and county health officer, said he told state health officials Tuesday that Orange County could easily introduce a function to Othena for people who used the county’s system to get vaccinated to show anyone who asks for proof.
But Chau said he worries about leaving behind people who either haven’t been vaccinated yet, or who have but don’t have a smartphone or internet access to use a digital version of such a passport. He suggested also issuing printed cards.”
“The county’s rollout continues to outpace other providers – Othena vaccinations account for 35% of doses given so far; CVS pharmacies are in second with 12%, according to the OC Health Care Agency’s latest data.
But what needs figuring out, Chau said, is how to bring the records of people who were vaccinated through traditional and private providers under the Othena umbrella for a passport system.”
All for an experimental vaccine for a virus that is 99.98% recoverable.
Many say if the gross mishandling of the coronavirus and subsequent lockdowns and mask mandates felt like crushing government overreach, imagine how bad the vaccine passport will be.
Already large entertainment organizations like Disney and professional sporting events and venues are telling fans to prepare to prove they’ve been vaccinated if they want to be allowed into Disneyland, or a NFL game. Ticketmaster announced plans to verify proof of vaccination or a recent negative test for COVID-19 using a digital health pass for sports fans and concertgoers who want to attend live events, MSN reported.
But the passports only serve to open a complicated can of worms and prolong the lockdowns, say Harvard Medical School Professor Martin Kulldorff, a biostatistician, and epidemiologist, and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a physician, economist and professor at Stanford Medical School. “It sounds like a way of easing coercive lockdown restrictions, but it’s the opposite,” they wrote in the Wall Street Journal last week. “To see why, consider dining. Restaurants in most parts of the U.S. have already reopened, at limited capacity in some places. A vaccine passport would prohibit entry by potential customers who haven’t received their shots. It would restrict the freedom even of those who have: If you’re vaccinated but your spouse isn’t, forget about dining out as a couple.”
Kulldorf and Bhattacharya warn, “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.”
“The public has lost trust in officials in part because they’ve performed poorly—relying on lockdowns to disastrous effect—and in part because they’ve made clear their distrust of the public,” they said. “Trust, after all, is a two-way street. Coercive vaccination policies would erode trust even further. Even well-informed people may legitimately wonder: Why are they forcing me to take this shot if it’s so good for me?”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have already issued executive orders barring the use of vaccine passports. Expect more governors to do the same, because they witnessed that the residents of Florida and Texas are doing just fine, and there were no spikes or surges when the masks came off for good, and the states fully re-opened.
“Vaccine passports are unjust and discriminatory,” Kulldorf and Bhattacharya said. “Most of those endorsing the idea belong to the laptop class—privileged professionals who worked safely and comfortably at home during the epidemic.”
“Vaccines are one of the most important inventions in human history—the reason that before last year many in the West had forgotten that infectious disease could pose a populationwide threat,” Kulldorf and Bhattacharya added. “Those pushing for coercive Covid vaccination threaten all this progress by undermining public trust in vaccines. In this sense, they are more dangerous than the small group of so-called anti-vaxxers have ever been.”
Perhaps the most interesting and important comment in the WSJ op ed summed up one root problem – business liability: “What you need is to indemnify business from rapacious lawyers and I suspect you’ll see the cry for passports to vanish.”
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