‘Vaccine Passports’ Inch Closer As Canadian Prime Minister Says They Are “To Be Expected”
What Happened: The idea of vaccine certificates, or vaccine "passports" have been a common theme throughout this pandemic, and they are already being implemented. Not long ago Denmark began requiring people to use a new COVID certificate to enter certain businesses or face fines, one of the first European countries to do so. A "green pass" is also required in Israel for citizens to enter into certain spaces.
What's being rolled out in several countries seems to be a good indicator of what is most likely to come in others, and Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently stated that the Canadian government is still looking "very carefully" at the prospect of vaccine passports, which would require proof of vaccination in order to be eligible for travel.
As was the case pre-pandemic, certificates of vaccination are a part of international travel to certain regions and are naturally to be expected when it comes to this pandemic and the coronavirus. How we actually roll that out in alignment with partners and allies around the world, it's something that we're working on right now. - PM Trudeau.
His comments come after the European Union signaled that fully vaccinated U.S. citizens will be able to travel to EU countries this summer, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have rolled out a series of guidelines around international travel for fully vaccinated Americans.
It seems that these passports would be required for people who want to travel outside of Canada, as well as those who wish to enter the country, but again, we don't completely know what will happen yet.
New Ipsos polling for the World Economic Forum reveals broad support across 28 countries for vaccine passports. In Canada, according to Ipsos, six in ten Canadians, compared to a global average of 54%, say that only people who have been vaccinated should be allowed to travel, attend sporting events, use public transit and other activities that involve larger groups of people. 39% of Canadians feel that limiting activities only to those who have been vaccinated is unfair.
A majority of Canadians expect vaccine passports to be widely used in Canada by the end of the year, with six in ten (61%) who agree (26% strongly/35% somewhat). Canada is slightly under the global average (66%) for agreement on near-term national use – India (81%) and Peru (81%) are most likely to think their countries will be using vaccine passports widely before the end of 2021, while residents of Russia (32%), Poland (45%), and 2021 Olympics host Japan (43%) are significantly less likely to agree. In the United States, a slim majority (56%) agree vaccination passports are likely to become the norm this year.
Why This Is Important: There are multiple polls that slighter differ, no matter how you cut it, almost 40% of people disagreeing is a huge number. And on a global scale it looks like we are bound to see a split between people who agree and people who disagree, and this includes many doctors and scientists in the field, for various reasons. There are those who believe the vaccine is and will be safe and effective for everyone, and that it will do a great job at stopping the transmission of the virus. There are also those who believe the opposite, that the vaccine is not safe and effective for everyone and its ability to stop the transmission of the virus is weak, and not yet known. There are even those who believe the vaccine will be responsible for the spread of more infectious variants.
There are also questions about how long immunity will last for in those who have been vaccinated, and whether or not they will require booster shots due to waning immunity. This seems to be a high probability, even within the mainstream. Questions have also been asked about variants of the virus, and whether or not current vaccines will be able to protect against those as well. If not, will more vaccines be developed for these variants, and will booster shots also be required for them?
It's also important to mention that there is a wealth of data and information showing that previous infection to COVID-19, the variants, as well as previous coronaviruses that have been circling the globe for decades can provide a protection that goes beyond the vaccine. Why should these people be required to obtain a vaccine passport?
It's not a cut and dry issue and there is much to discuss. The morality and ethics of vaccine passports, and taking away other rights and freedoms of people in order to coerce them into vaccinating doesn't sit well with many.
Should governments have the authority to implement such measures when there isn't really a consensus among doctors, scientists and most importantly, the citizenry? Should they be able to have this much power? Are there conflicts of interests and other agendas at play behind the idea of vaccine passports, and the further digitization of of this type of surveillance technology?
What can we do about a world that continually enforces what can be seen as authoritarian measures on the population? How can we get everybody to see that it's ok to disagree with each other, and that the forced measures rather than recommendations may be harmful to everybody in the long run? How can we collectively change the way we think about these issues so we are not constantly on one side of another? Is there a way we can all co-exist while respecting everybody's rights and freedoms?
Why are narratives that oppose what we are told from government as well as mainstream media never really discussed and in many cases, ignored or deemed a "conspiracy"? Why do we fail as a society to have conversations with and understand people with an opposing point of view?
Many things to think about, it's time to become an active engager in this reality as sitting back may no longer be an option. Hopefully those who oppose these measures will receive equal and fair attention as those who support it. It's unsettling that governments are able to roll out measures that continually go against the will of so many people.