Vaccine passports won’t return us to normalcy


Source: Frauke Riether (Pixabay)

Vaccination passports will not accelerate the return to normalcy and will only worsen inequities. Only the COVID-19 vaccine and social distancing will protect our community.

Vaccine passports seem to ensure accountability, but they also create new bureaucratic tape for underprivileged people to get stuck in.

Currently, everyone aged 16 and above is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. Santa Clara County’s “No Wrong Door” policy allows anyone to get the vaccine for free, regardless of their healthcare provider or insurance status.

But this policy may expire, especially when COVID-19 infections and deaths drop to more favorable numbers. This would exclude many of the most vulnerable people from vaccination and its passports.

If vaccination passports were required to enter public spaces and travel internationally, the population would become segregated. Those who can’t afford the side effects and lost time and money will be disadvantaged.

Digitized vaccine passports will amplify this disadvantage.

While smartphones may seem everywhere, they are still a luxury to many. A virtual passport leaves out those who do not have access to such technology, even if they can get the vaccine.

In the U.S., 15% of the population does not own a smartphone. This leaves the 49.8 million people without a smartphone unable to access a digital passport.

Public health plans need to take disadvantaged communities into account.
A more equitable approach would be supplying free masks and social distancing mandates.

For necessary international travel, the United States should offer free COVID-19 testing. The country should prohibit unnecessary travel.

I won’t use a vaccine passport as an accessory. Instead, I’ll continue styling all my outfits with a cute pair of earrings, some sunnies, and a face mask to match.