By Maddyn Shapiro
Plymouth Whitemarsh High School '22
The COVID-19 pandemic has left the world wondering what happens after vaccines, and how we can manage a world between the vaccinated and unvaccinated. The current solution proposed is the controversial vaccine passports.
Essentially, there would be a standard way of identifying whether an individual has been vaccinated, and it is working towards becoming a digital QR code. Additionally, the passports are expected to be free and digital, but there will also be an option to print them. The Biden administration and private companies are trying to develop them as businesses and other public places try to reopen. No federal mandate is planned, and it would apply more to private companies.
The effort to further develop them has increased with President Biden’s plans to return to some sort of normalcy, as well as many businesses claiming that they will require proof of vaccination to be entered into their stores.
The vaccine passports are aimed at bringing the US back to some sort of normalcy, and would be used in restaurants, public places and events, and travel. The ultimate goal is to help the economy as making buildings safer with only vaccinated people could encourage more people to go out, thus spurring consumerism. Additionally, they would help encourage vaccination to bring the pandemic’s end closer because if those who are vaccinated receive some preferential treatment, it could make those who are not yet vaccinated want one.
However, despite the benefits that the vaccine passports could bring to the US, the implementation of them has turned into a very controversial debate. While they are working well in other places, such as Israel, and have the possibility to bring the US out of the pandemic, they also pose some very serious concerns.
Main issues that the Biden administration is facing include data privacy and health care equity. They want to make sure all Americans have the opportunity to validate their vaccination, but they also want the system to be secure and protected from hacking, especially since forgery of vaccinations has already started to occur.
Many claim that with a country the size of the US, getting a collective system of vaccine passports could be very difficult. Additionally, there are not enough vaccines for everyone in the US, so just because someone doesn’t have access to a vaccine does not mean they should be penalized because of this.
One of the largest issues with them is the unfair aspect that they bring to those who do not have a vaccination. As they would give some preferential treatment to vaccinated individuals, many explain that they have the choice of whether or not to get vaccinated, and this should not hurt their daily lives, which it will if the vaccine passports are brought to the US.
As developments of the vaccine passports progress, it is important to remember the many difficulties associated with them as well as the possible benefits they could bring to the US before asking yourself: do you think vaccine passports are fair, and do you think they could bring the end of the pandemic?