- The Washington Times
Tuesday, March 2, 2021

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

It’s coming — a COVID-19 vaccine passport.

Politicians all over the world are using the coronavirus pandemic to assert new controls over their citizens. Next up will be a vaccination passport, indicating whether an individual has been vaccinated or has had the virus, in order to travel freely.


The European Commission has already asserted such a move is forthcoming. It will present a legislative plan this month for what it calls a “digital green pass,” or a digital certificate to provide government officials proof a person has been vaccinated, in order to help facilitate cross-border travel. 

Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said the passport will “respect data protection, security and privacy.” 

Yeah, right. It sounds like a biological Patriot Act to me — allowing governments to collect information on their citizens, infringing on their civil liberties — all in the name of enhanced “protection.”

People will face the choice: Either get a COVID-19 vaccination and submit to government control, or face discrimination.

According to Reuters, the Commission wants to ensure its “digital green pass,” works not only in European Union member countries, but outside the EU as well. It wants to work with international organizations to help codify its efforts.

Big Tech seems to be on board.

Apple placed limitations on developers building “vaccine passport” apps and said they would only be allowed if the developer was working with recognized public health authorities or companies associated with them. 

Currently, there is no officially recognized vaccine passport or certificate, but all of that will change with the European Commission’s plan. Once the Commission signs off on its “digital green pass,” app developers will be unleashed.

This raises so many questions — will governments allow Big Tech and developers to access their citizens’ health records to develop such an app? How will Big Tech ensure these apps responsibly handle sensitive data and provide reliable functionality?

Will the app only be applied to international travel or will it bleed into the corporate world? Will companies use it to discriminate against those who haven’t been vaccinated? Is demanding to know someone’s vaccine status even legal — shouldn’t such health information remain private? And won’t the passport exacerbate the public’s mistrust in vaccines by making them appear mandatory?

Don’t think the European Commission’s plan won’t affect Americans. Any frequent traveler knows a vaccination passport is only a matter of time.

The International Air Transport Association is developing its own health app that allows travelers to store verified test or vaccination results on their mobile devices. JetBlue is preparing to use a similar app on flights to Aruba. Other airlines, including Virgin Atlantic and United, are testing a CommonPass app — where passengers will be able to take a coronavirus test at home, send it to a lab and then have their results uploaded on the app and scanned when loading the plane.

A coronavirus vaccination may not be required (now) to board domestic flights; however, Delta’s CEO, Ed Bastian, told NBC’s “Today Show” that it may be something exclusive to international travel, “whether the airlines do it or international authorities do it,” the AARP reported.

And in January, when asked if a vaccination passport could be required in the U.S., Dr. Anthony Fauci responded: “Anything is on the table. Anything is possible, of course.”

Brace yourselves — the vaccination passport is coming.


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