As more and more people get vaccinated, many of us are hoping for a return to normal. Unfortunately with new variants emerging, high vaccination rates are not preventing exponential growth amongst unvaccinated. UK perfect example where over 2/3 have had one shot and over half have both shots. Yet it is recording a record 34,000 cases a day and rising. This puts politicians in a very difficult spot: Do we stay open and let virus run amok risking potential of hospitals being overwhelmed and perhaps new vaccine resistant variants emerging. Or do we shut down again causing people to lose their jobs and many businesses struggling to survive go under. Never mind another shut down will just create demoralization with many deciding this is with us for good thus ignore rules and don’t bother to get vaccinated.
However there is a better solution, one France is already promising to implement and Germany in case of a future lockdown. That is those who can show proof of receiving both shots and two weeks have elapsed since second shot can still go to bars/nightclubs, dine indoors, go to movie theatres, concerts, sports games, and perhaps even travel. I believe we should seriously consider implementing vaccine passports in Canada. While cases right now are low so not necessary at moment; if trajectory elsewhere says anything, its only a matter of time before we see a big spike in cases. Vaccine passports will help keep businesses afloat, it will those of us who got vaccinated to resume our lives and not have to go through the hardship of last 16 months, and most importantly will be a strong incentive for vaccine skeptics to get vaccinated so we can hit herd immunity. After all many vaccine skeptics may not want to get vaccinated but when faced between a choice of continue to have to live in semi-lockdown or return to normal; I suspect this will be a very strong incentive for such to get vaccinated. Now some will argue this is not fair to those who cannot get it for medical reasons. And yes that is a fair comment. But hopefully if those who can do, we can get to point where no longer needed.
Now I have heard all the arguments about why this is wrong and shouldn’t be done. But at end of the day, it is best doing what will deliver the best outcome, not some high principles. We live in an imperfect world and sometimes we need to accept that our ideals are not feasible. Re-opening with no restrictions is just not practical in places where Delta variant is surging. So its a choice of another full shut down or stay open with vaccine passports. I know which option I prefer. Below I will debunk some of the common claims by those who are opposed to vaccine passports
- Its a violation of our freedom – In Canada rights are not absolute, in fact section 1 of the charter allows specifically for limits on rights if reasonable in a free and democratic society. Because rights sometimes collide, the proper course is to take the approach that causes least amount of harm. Since a further shutdown or hospitals being overwhelmed is more harmful than vaccine passports, I believe the case is very strong that vaccine passports are least harmful path.
- It is segregation and discrimination – Asides from a small number who cannot get vaccinated for medical reasons, it is a choice and with choices come consequences. It is not like race, gender, or sexual orientation. It is a deliberate choice one has made and with any choices one must face the consequence. If you don’t want to be refused, then get vaccinated.
- If you are vaccinated what is the issue – Problem here is breakthrough cases while rare still occur. More importantly the more unvaccinated people we have; more potential for new variants to emerge which vaccine may be less effective against
- Its a personal choice and government should leave up to individuals – As per point 1 rights are not unlimited. More importantly with rights comes responsibilities. We already allow places to refuse service, ever seen sign no shirt, no shoes, no service? This is exactly the same principle and no one has a problem with that.
- Its a violation of medical privacy – For starters saying whether you are vaccinated or not is hardly something most of us feel uncomfortable telling others. Its not like many medical problems or issues which understandably many of us don’t want to share with complete strangers. And if uncomfortable telling people if vaccinated or not, simple solution, don’t go to where it is demanded. Fact is most who don’t want to share are likely anti-vaxxers. Vaccine passport simply would show received two shots and date of second shot, nothing else. Not which you got, not any personal health information. I am getting my second shot on July 13th so it would say on mine my full name Miles Lunn and then second shot July 13, 2021 and nothing else. That means from July 27, 2021 I would be able to go to all places that are high risk. These are already required to enter some countries (yellow fever cards for example) or if you wish to send your children to school.
Now lets be clear, hopefully this does not become permanent and only will if we can never reach herd immunity. This is a stop gap measure until we can reach herd immunity. It allows many of us who have had to change our lifestyles over past 16 months to return to normal and also helps save many businesses. And more importantly its a good carrot and stick approach to encourage all who can get vaccinated to do so. Now yes your usual suspects will complain about it. Too bad is my answer. We have had a rough 16 months and many of us are tired of the minority wrecking our lives because they cannot follow the damn rules. For those who wish to be selfish jerks (which anyone not getting vaccinated unless cannot for medical reasons) is being shouldn’t wreck everything for the rest of us. So to all the anti-vaxxers out there, go ahead with your reckless behavior, but don’t wreck it for the rest of us. We have had to have longer lockdowns than otherwise would be necessary and more deaths than otherwise thanks to all the anti-lockdown and anti-mask types so enough is enough. We are part of a larger society and those who don’t wish to do their part need to accept the consequences.