As America is getting vaccinated, discussion shifts towards the new “vaccine passport” idea – where Americans have to obtain proof of vaccination to access select private property, such as sport stadiums. Although there are strong points from both sides, conclusion after analyzing the situation is that vaccine passports should not be required.
The underlying idea of the vaccine passport is the hope that Americans will be incentivized to get a vaccination. Not being able to fly or attend a sporting event may inspire those who are normally averse towards getting vaccinated to finally get the shots. Getting vaccinated comes with its own advantages as well, so what is wrong with vaccine passports?
Firstly, there can be many ethical dilemmas to consider before issuing the policy. Recent studies show that Black and Hispanic populations receive less vaccinations compared to other populations throughout the United States. Is it ethical if vaccine passports become a reality?
The concessions given to those that have a vaccine passport are obviously advantageous to populations and communities who have higher rates of vaccinations. As a result, restaurants, business meetings, and parks may be off limits disproportionately to certain demographics.
“I’m against the vaccine passport because not everyone has access to vaccines in America. People may also not be in sound positions to be getting vaccinated for whatever reason. Their struggle should not bar them from going to places where other people can,” explains Michael Hu (‘23).
Secondly, there will always be the problem with the approved vaccines. Currently, there are three approved vaccines in the United States – Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.
However, will the vaccine passport be granted to American citizens in the United Kingdom who took the AstraZeneca vaccination – a vaccine approved in dozens of countries but not the US? What about foreign travellers in America for business?
If the United States does not approve a certain vaccine, it will be complicated for foreigners and Americans alike to determine whether they can attend a business meeting or ball game if the vaccine passport idea is approved.
“I understand that it’s important to emphasize vaccination within the US, but for those who have already acquired vaccines from other sources outside the country, I believe it isn’t fair to those people who are then not allowed to partake in community services. The idea behind vaccination passports is good, but I think the system needs to provide more options for foreigners,” said Jonny Hu (‘23).
Next, there may be those who decide to forge vaccination passports. Proof of vaccination is only a card from the CDC that can be easily forged by those who are determined enough to try. It is hard to disprove forgery in this case.
As a result, in order to create such a vaccine passport policy, there needs to be a change in law regarding proof of vaccination that can be troublesome to create and implement.
“This problem can be fixed with special markings like on money, so that it is not easily forged by the average anti-vaxxer,” said Richard Li (‘22).
For these reasons, vaccine passports should not be implemented by the federal government.