The widespread implementation of some kind of digital vaccine passport or ‘vaxport’ appears to be a foregone conclusion in the United States — but not if I can help it. I’m going hard against it while there’s still time. You should too.
It’s a very simple question: do I trust the government, Big Tech and corporations not to abuse this power? The answer is NO. Absolutely not. And why should I? Why would anyone? I could have just stopped at ‘do I trust the government, Big Tech and corporations?’ Opposing vaccine passports seems like something that should unite people across the entire political spectrum.
Over the past decade we’ve had all of these institutions sell our data, spy on us and lie to us. The concept of a ‘vaxport’ also demands that we trust our medical data will remain secure, which is a joke. All of our information has been spilled all over the internet by some of the most ‘secure’ companies online.
And before you come running into my mentions waving your yellow ‘International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis’ card bragging about how many countries you’ve been in where you needed to show your vaccinations (you didn’t) and how all of us dumb, ignorant rednecks need to leave our bubble — I’m not talking about international travel. What a country demands for entry in is completely up to that country. A digital domestic passport system to partake in society is very different than needing to show physical proof that you got your yellow fever shot before you enter Uganda.
For me, all the arguments for the idea of this dystopian nightmare rest on the premise that the government, Big Tech and corporations have our best interest at heart. This is absurd on its face.
Here are the questions we should be asking the people in charge of rolling this program out. Why do we need these if the vaccines work? The point of the vaccine is to protect us from the virus when we’re out in the world and it turns out — they’re working! Hooray! These vaccines are a miracle of modern science and we should all be celebrating. Not only that, much of the evidence coming out shows that not only do the vaccines work, but they work against many of the variants, too. Why are people so invested in controlling whether or not everyone around them has the vaccine if this is the case? Get your vaccine, stop asking everyone else if they got theirs — it’s none of your business — and get on with your life.
And who are we to force people who might be vaccine-hesitant into getting a vaccine that has only been tested for a year and we have no idea what the long-term side effects will be? I’m happy to take my chances for science and for humanity on this vaccine — but make no mistake — we are all guinea pigs. Given you can’t sue pharmaceutical companies, we are guinea pigs with no recourse. Someone has to do it. I’m OK with it — but I would never force someone who wasn’t comfortable with the idea to get the jab. Their body, their choice — right? Or are we not doing that anymore?
And let’s talk about the idea of choice because this is another lie being sold to anyone who opposes this idea. ‘You don’t have to get the vaccine, Bridget. Or the vaxport.’ Sure but even when I get the vaccine, if I don’t get the vaxport, I’ll still be unable to participate in some aspects of society. This is not a choice. This is the government who has taken away all of your freedoms and is giving them back to you now conditionally. Instead of mandating the vaccine, they’re going to rely on manufacturing consent using social pressure and private companies. It’s shady. It’s creepy. And we’re just supposed to say, ‘Thank you, Daddy.’
Pro-vaxport folks will try to use your support of the free markets against you by saying, ‘this is just private businesses taking steps to protect their customers.’ Only that’s not the case. In fact, it’s the public sector and the private sector collaborating. Though Dr Fauci has said the federal government won’t require vaccine passports, the Biden administration has said they are ‘working on creating a set of standards for people to prove they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19.’
But what exactly is the scope of the vaxport? We really won’t know what the parameters are until they’re released. By then it will be too late to resist. Isn’t that convenient? And it’s much harder to undo a disaster of a policy or program than it is to cut that bad idea off at the pass. Where will they be necessary? Do I need one to fly domestically? Get into a museum? A restaurant? Do you need one to go to work? Cross state lines? What about people who have medical conditions? What about folks who don’t have smartphones? What about our right to keep our health information private?
One of my favorite dumb arguments is, ‘What’s the big deal? You’re already giving up more information on your phone and using google.’ Yes, I’ve given up my soul to social media, my privacy to Google and my information to the entire internet — so why not sacrifice my body and medical history too?
Most of the folks I see loudly bullying people into getting the vaccine passport (and by default, the vaccine) are limousine liberals in blue states who haven’t left their homes in a year. And we get it. You all want to get back to your SoulCycle classes and Coachella because you’ve been on a steady diet of NPR and CNN and you’re terrified. But newsflash: red states have been some form of partially open since last July. There is no need for a vaccine passport to ‘get back to normal’ if you’ve already been back to normal for almost a year. In fact, governors of states like Florida, Missouri, Mississippi and Texas have already come out in favor of banning the passports in their states.
The people in favor of this Black Mirror nonsense will also bury you with a barrage of bad faith attacks: ‘You just want to kill people’, false equivalencies: ‘You need immunizations to go to school’, shame tactics: ‘Grow up and be an adult’ and ideas that are such utter rubbish they don’t deserve a response: ‘No shirt, no shoes, no vaccination, no service.’
A year ago you were called a conspiracy theorist if you said bio-security ID was on the way. It’s also the same people who, if this was Trump floating the idea, would be screaming we are LITERALLY NAZI GERMANY and as much as I hate trite comparisons that cheapen the Holocaust, in this case, I’d probably be fighting alongside them.
Speaking of the #Resistance, what happened to literally everything is racist? Given that our most vaccine-hesitant populations tend to be disadvantaged groups and people of color — wouldn’t this system be excluding those very populations? Isn’t the very idea of vaccine passports actually racist since the people who will be left behind are the communities who justifiably have the most distrust in the government and healthcare systems?
After giving them access to our health records, where does it end? Our finances? Our voting history? Allow me for a moment to don my tinfoil hat. How long before I need to prove I took a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion test to inoculate myself against my implicit bias? Now you can tell me this is far-fetched, or a lazy ‘slippery slope’ argument. But just last summer during the mostly peaceful protests, hundreds of experts in epidemiology and medicine came out and said, ‘the real epidemic is racism’. By that logic, why not force people to prove they‘ve immunized themselves against bigotry?
Perhaps I’m still kicking myself for believing it would be ‘just two weeks to flatten the curve’. Maybe I’m overcompensating for the shame of being gullible enough to believe our leaders and ‘experts’. Or maybe I learned my lesson and I’m fighting while I can. As comedian Dave Smith said, if there is enough backlash, the powers that be will realize they have to ‘boil that frog a little longer’.