Published in El Pais, 1 June 2021.
Thankfully we are at a point in this pandemic where many have at least their first dose of the covid vaccine, and we are talking about being able to do more activities not done since the pandemic. There has already been talk of vaccine passports to allow those that are vaccinated to do more than those that do not. Cruise ships have said vaccination will be required once they resume and the CDC has even said masks are no longer necessary if you are vaccinated (remember not to take medical advice from this article) and shops in the US have lifted mask mandates for those that are vaccinated. Of course, those that are against taking the vaccine have already voiced their anger and politicians are listening.
The anti-vaccine movement is nothing new and has long been around before the pandemic as there have been made false medical claims of vaccines carrying harmful chemicals and causing other issues like autism. The pandemic however has caused the same group of individuals to act even louder as a passport program would obviously have negative ramifications for them. So, it will be of some relief to them to know they have allies.
In the state of Florida for example, it became illegal to require proof of vaccination with each offence carrying a thousand dollar fine, meaning any anti vaxxer can simply say they are, and we would have to take their word for it. Senator Ted Cruz along with two other US senators introduced legislation to make it illegal for the federal government to create one or help third parties create their own.
The issue of course is that no one should be forced to take the vaccine if they do not want to and that I could not agree with more. However as is the case with every decision in life deciding not to get vaccinated should have consequences. You have the right not to get vaccinated, and the shop keeper/airline/stadium has the right to refuse service to you for doing so. The fact is vaccines are just another part to stop the spread of the virus that only works if we all get involved and those who refuse to get vaccinated or practice other health protocols put everyone around them at risk and not just themselves.
We are all tired and we need this thing to end. Vaccine passports are a way to get us there faster and all legislation to stop it should be discouraged, otherwise lockdowns, masks and social distancing will be here even longer and no one wants that.