The Rush Towards Digital “Vaccine Passports”

Around the world, as governments try to protect their populations from the coronavirus pandemic, the introduction of “vaccine passports” is being discussed — and in some countries, the passports are already being implemented.

In Israel, which boasts the fastest vaccination program in the world (almost half the country’s population has already been vaccinated), vaccine passports are currently being used to enter gyms and hotels and attend concerts.

In the U.K., government leaders are considering a kind of certification to enable people to enter bars or restaurants, or attend the theater.

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And, in Iceland, vaccine passports are being used in an effort to help facilitate foreign travel.

Might a similar program be enacted here in the U.S.? Last month, President Biden issued an executive order instructing government agencies to assess the viability of a digital passport for Covid-19 vaccinations.

Proponents of the vaccine passports argue they will help economies to resume a kind of normalcy while simultaneously protecting individuals.

Critics, however, worry that the digital passports will discriminate against certain groups people, including groups that may be less willing to accept a vaccine.

Meanwhile, there are concerns that digital passports could provide people with a false sense of security. After all, it is still unclear whether the vaccines will protect people from certain variants of the virus. For example, a variant found in the the Northeastern portion of the United States, is believed to be unresponsive to the vaccines.

In the European Union, lawmakers are trying to create an overall digital passport within the next three months in order to enable travel across the block. Some countries, are opponents of the program while France remains resistant. President Macron said Thursday that he does not want young people (who aren’t getting the vaccine yet) to be discriminated against.

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