Opinion: Vaccine passports are already turning into a culture war

Wednesday - 31/03/2021 09:00
Concertgoers show their "green passport" proof of a coronavirus vaccination or full recovery from the virus to enter a Tel Aviv soccer stadium for a musical performance March 5. (Oded Balilty/AP)
Concertgoers show their "green passport" proof of a coronavirus vaccination or full recovery from the virus to enter a Tel Aviv soccer stadium for a musical performance March 5. (Oded Balilty/AP)
The next thing to know about vaccine passports is they’re about to start a war anyway.

The first thing to know about vaccine passports is that they’re not passports. They’re more like certificates, likely emerging in the form of scannable smartphone codes, that declare one thing and only one thing about their bearer: that they have gotten stuck in the arm the requisite number of times.

The second thing to know about vaccine passports is that they don’t even exist yet, at least not at any appreciable scale. The White House is working with private companies to develop standards for whatever products emerge, but the government isn’t crafting a little blue book with an N95-clad eagle embossed in gold that all civilians must carry wherever they go.

Vaccine passports have little to do with international travel (that’s another conversation) and more to do with everyday life right here where we already are: in our bars, ballparks and other businesses that want to open their doors wide again without risking outbreaks. The Post reported on Sunday that 17 initiatives for covid credentials are in the works. This suggests the problem is less likely to be centralized surveillance of the citizenry and more likely to be a shambolic hodgepodge of protocols too confusing for businesses to enforce.

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