Vaccine passports, Covid’s next political flashpoint

Vaccine passports, Covid's next political flashpoint

The next major flashpoint on the coronavirus response has already sparked cries of tyranny and discrimination in Britain, protests in Denmark, digital disinformation in the US and geopolitical skirmishes within the Union European.

The subject of the debate: vaccine passports – government issued cards or smartphone badges indicating that the carrier has been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The idea is to allow families to reunite, savings to restart, and hundreds of millions of people who have received vaccines to return to some degree of normalcy, all without spreading the virus. Some versions of the documentation may allow holders to travel abroad. Others would allow entry into spaces reserved for vaccinated people such as gymnasiums, concert halls and restaurants.

While such passports are still hypothetical in most countries, Israel became the first to deploy its last week, capitalizing on its high vaccination rate. Several European countries plan to follow. President Biden has asked federal agencies to explore options. And some airlines and tourism-dependent industries and destinations expect to need it.

The division of the world between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated raises formidable political and ethical questions. Vaccines are going en masse to rich countries and the privileged racial groups within them. Granting special rights to the vaccinated, while tightening restrictions on the unvaccinated, risks widening already dangerous social gaps.

Skepticism about vaccines, already …

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