Published in El Pais, 24 June 2021.
With the global vaccination rates on the rise there is talk of lowering border restrictions and allowing things like sporting events and concerts to resume. Understandably, many have expressed that these events be limited to those that have been fully vaccinated for COVID to prevent further outbreaks, and while no official passport yet exits, there are some events in the United States requiring proof of vaccination to attend. The problem? Only those who have received vaccines approved by the FDA (Pfizer, Jansen, Moderna) can gain admittance while those who received others like AstraZeneca or Sputnik will not be allowed admittance.
Now of course some of these vaccinations are more effective than others but these exclusions are more political than scientific, both the AstraZeneca and Janssen vaccinations are around 60% effective against the new Delta variant which is quite low compared to others showing in the high 80s. If health and safety was the real driving factor those with Jansen should be facing the same restrictions, but they are not.
So now many are facing the same restrictions as those who outright refused to get vaccinated at all. Many unfortunately do not have the luxury of choosing vaccinations, in Bolivia you do not even know until you show up and while it was starting to become more apparent that some were better than others, the general guidelines by health agencies around the world was to get the first one you can get and not be picky. Even if health was a concern for some places that wanted to ban those with less effective vaccines, surely a compromise could be made like asking those to wear a mask rather than an outright ban?
I am all for a vaccine passport, but this type of discrimination is grossly unfair. Hopefully with enough pushback we can create a fair passport system that works for everyone.