For a weary public longing to get back to normalcy, vaccine passports represent a tantalizing carrot, being dangled as a mechanism for freedom. By showing proof that youâ€™ve received a COVID-19 vaccine, perhaps you can once again board an airplane and travel freely, attend a concert or enjoy a meal in your favorite restaurant, just like you used to.
Except, being required to present your â€œpapersâ€� in order to live your life isnâ€™t actually freedom at all â€” itâ€™s discrimination, and even a move toward technocratic fascism, one thatâ€™s setting the stage for increased surveillance and erosion of your privacy.
Nonetheless, this blatant move toward an ever-increasing surveillance state is being welcomed by many who have been led to believe the passports are necessary to protect public health and safety.
Vaccine Passports Are in Development
Itâ€™s likely only a matter of time before youâ€™ll be asked to prove your vaccination status in order to carry on with your daily life. â€œThe government seems to be developing vaccine passports by stealth, making sure the technology is in place for anyone who needs it,â€� wrote Lara Prendergast, The Spectatorâ€™s assistant editor.1
Sheâ€™s referring to the U.K. government, which has given sizable grants to a number of private companies developing such technology. This includes more than $86,000 to Logifect, which is slated to launch a vaccine passport app in March 2021, and more than $104,000 to iProov and Mvine, which are developing digital certificates that show vaccination status.
As Prendergast noted, â€œYour phone would most likely be your vaccination passport. Everyoneâ€™s vaccination status is already being logged centrally by the National Immunization Vaccination System using their NHS number. This information could be easily linked with an app.â€�2
Around the world, vaccine passports are rapidly being rolled out, including in Denmark, which will begin issuing them in February 2021. Sweden. Spain, Italy, Cyprus and Malta have also expressed positivity toward vaccine passports to revive tourism, while in the U.S., plans for vaccine IDs are under evaluation.3 International efforts are also underway.
The app allows users to upload medical data such as a COVID-19 test result or proof of vaccination, which then generates a QR code that you will show to authorities as your health passport.4 The proposed common framework â€œfor safe border reopeningâ€� around the world involves the following:5
- Every nation must publish their health screening criteria for entry into the country using a standard format on a common framework
- Each country must register trusted facilities that conduct COVID-19 lab testing for foreign travel and administer vaccines listed in the CommonPass registry
- Each country will accept health screening status from foreign visitors through apps and services built on the CommonPass framework
- Patient identification is to be collected at the time of sample collection and/or vaccination using an international standard
- The CommonPass framework will be integrated into flight and hotel reservation check-in processes
Eventually, the CommonPass framework will be integrated with already existing personal health apps such as Apple Health and CommonHealth. If you want to travel, your personal health record will be evaluated and compared to a countryâ€™s entry requirements, and if you donâ€™t meet them, youâ€™ll be directed to an approved testing and vaccination location.
Majority Are in Favor of â€˜Privacy-Encroaching Technologyâ€™
Even as mortality data show COVID-19 is hardly the deadly pandemic itâ€™s been made out to be, fear-mongering remains in full effect â€” including warnings that a more infectious, mutated strain of SARS-CoV-2 is on the loose. With fear still omnipresent, acceptance of â€œprivacy-encroaching technologyâ€� that promises an illusion of safety is high.
In the U.K., researchers from the University of Bristol conducted two large surveys about such technologies, with overwhelming positivity reported.6 The first measured public acceptance of location tracking through your cellphone that would allow health agencies to monitor your contact with others to target social distancing and quarantine measures.
About 70% of the respondents said they would accept such an app that they could choose to download and, surprisingly, 65% also said they would accept such an app even if it was mandated by the government and used to locate those violating lockdown orders and issue fines and arrests.7
A second survey evaluated acceptance of vaccine passports, with 60% stating they were in favor and only 20% stating they were strongly opposed. The studyâ€™s lead author, professor Stephan Lewandowsky, described those opposed as â€œsurprisingly low, adding, â€œItâ€™s fascinating how people seem increasingly receptive to their personal data being used to inform themselves and others about what they can and canâ€™t do.â€�8
Prendergast put this widespread acceptance into further context for the British, who â€œhave traditionally been deeply suspicious of the idea of an official asking for â€˜papers, pleaseâ€™:9
â€œ[This] â€¦ is why there was such a backlash against Blairâ€™s ID cards. As one journalist at the time put it:
â€˜If I am ever asked to produce my ID card as evidence that I am who I say I am, when I have done nothing wrong and when I am simply ambling along and breathing Godâ€™s fresh air like any other freeborn Englishman, then I will take that card out of my wallet and physically eat it in the presence of whatever emanation of the state has demanded that I produce it.â€™
That journalist is now our Prime Minister. It would be an extraordinary turn of events if Boris Johnson ended up being the man who introduced an immunity identity system in Britain.â€�
US Universities Institute Jail-Like Restrictions
At every turn, long-standing societal norms â€” like college students gathering with friends in their dorm or even leaving their rooms for work and exercise â€” are disappearing. As of February 7, 2021, for instance, the University of Massachusetts Amherst was in a â€œhigh riskâ€� operational mode due to a â€œcontinuing surge in COVID-19 cases.â€�10
The status, which was to be in place for a minimum of 14 days, made all classes remote and ordered all students, whether residing on or off campus, to self-sequester in their residences, except to get meals, attend medical appointments or undergo twice-weekly COVID testing.
Violating these orders would result in â€œdisciplinary action,â€� according to a university press release, which could include removal from residence halls or suspension.11 Students were also informed that, should they decide to leave campus to self-sequester at home, â€œit is highly unlikely we will be able to accommodate your return.â€�
Even within a residence hall, students were told to remain in their rooms at all times except when using a restroom on their floor. Outdoor exercise or attending to the immediate needs of a pet was allowed, but only when wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing.12
This wasnâ€™t the case at UC Berkeley, however, which banned outdoor exercise in addition to extending dormitory lockdowns in February 2021. The only times students are allowed to leave their rooms during the lockdown are to obtain medical care, get required COVID tests, to use an assigned bathroom or to obtain food from an outdoor dining kiosk, after which â€œyou are required to return immediately to your room.â€�13
Are You Clean Enough to Travel?
While many countries have suggested that the COVID-19 vaccine will not be mandated, by giving special privileges to the vaccinated, such as the ability to travel, attend social events or even enter a workplace, it essentially amounts to the same thing and insinuates a â€œcleanerâ€� class of people in those who have been vaccinated.
Itâ€™s reminiscent of the early days of the pandemic, when hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes were flying off store shelves in a frenzy to clean away COVID. Now we know that transmission of COVID-19 by fomites â€” the term used for inanimate surfaces and objects that can transmit a pathogen â€” has been exaggerated.
Emanuel Goldman, a microbiology professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, suggested this in July 2020, when he stated that studies suggesting SARS-CoV-2 was easily spread via surfaces did not present real-life situation.14
â€œIn my opinion, the chance of transmission through inanimate surfaces is very small,â€� he said, and while period disinfection of surfaces, especially in hospitals, was a reasonable precaution, in public settings, he noted, â€œthis can go to extremes not justified by the data.â€�15 In February 2021, an editorial in Nature supported Goldmanâ€™s work, suggesting that costly and toxic disinfection efforts are misguided.
â€œCatching the coronavirus from surfaces is rare. The World Health Organization and national public health agencies need to clarify their advice,â€� the editorial reads.16 The New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority alone is spending an estimated $380 million annually on COVID-related sanitation, and when it asked the U.S. government whether they should be focusing on fomites or solely aerosols, they were told to continue their focus on fomites.17
Writing in The Atlantic, Derek Thompson describes this as a type of â€œhygiene theater,â€� in which Americans are going through the motions of dutifully cleaning and, likely, over-disinfecting surfaces when the virus spreads most efficiently through the air.18
Indeed, much of the COVID-19 pandemic response has been embroiled in theatrics, including mask mandates, for which the scientific evidence has been described as â€œastonishingly weak.â€�19 Hygiene theater, much like the theater for vaccine passports, provides an illusion of safety, not one grounded in reality.
Discussion to Ban Florida Travel for Disobedience
In the U.S., Florida announced in December 2020 that it would have no more lockdowns and no statewide mask mandates.20 The act resulted in retaliation by federal government, which entertained the idea of a domestic travel ban to the state, reportedly to curb the spread of new COVID-19 variants.
In a press conference, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis stated, â€œAny attempt to restrict by the federal government would be an attack on our state done purely for political purposes.â€� Sen. Marco Rubio agreed, calling the act unconstitutional: â€œSo now that theyâ€™re considering actual restrictions on Americans inside the country, I think it is unconstitutional. I think itâ€™s going to be challenged in court successfully.â€�21
The â€œtechnocratic fascist visionâ€�22 of professor Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum who wrote the book on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, is moving ahead full-steam. He announced the World Economic Forumâ€™s Great Reset Initiative in June 2020, which includes stripping all people of their privately owned assets.
Getting health passports to become a new normal has, in fact, been part of the plan all along for the Commons Project, which began developing software that tracks medical data well before the COVID-19 pandemic. â€œBut spikes in virus cases around the world this spring accelerated its work,â€� The New York Times reported.23
While the vaccine passports are starting out with the COVID-19 vaccine for international travel, itâ€™s setting a precedent for expansion that can be extended to other vaccines and medical information, and then to domestic travel and even leaving your house, as the passports will be carried on your phone that has location-tracking abilities.
And itâ€™s clear that when the fascists come, theyâ€™ll be wearing masks â€” probably two or three of them depending on their level of loyalty. For now, getting informed and sharing your knowledge is the first step to protecting your freedom.