Vaccination passports are just a name for trust

by Walt Maguire
Posted 8/12/21

How do we prove we’re vaccinated, and when? The PA card is notoriously slightly-too-big for a wallet. Restaurant workers, service workers of all kind, are trapped in this situation.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Vaccination passports are just a name for trust

Posted

The federal government has said there will be no mandated vaccination passports, but that does not mean proof of inoculation will never be needed. As any parent knows, schools require medical records. Flying to another country sometimes requires shots and proof of those shots: Malaria, smallpox, now COVD-19.  Restaurants and concerts are experimenting with requiring proof of vaccination. Eric Clapton has announced his concerts will require proof of no vaccination, which I can only assume is a Tucker Carlson t-shirt.

Proof we are who we say we are is an old idea some people resist on purely philosophical grounds. We tend to be selective about how we address that: I have a friend who will never use his card if he can use cash, will not discuss politics, yet mention “shellfish” and he will go into anatomical detail about his allergic reaction if he even smells Old Bay seasoning. Sometimes it’s a matter of trust: In a story in this week’s Local, Carole and Barbara Lindner narrowly escaped being scammed because they thought they were dealing with a trusted software company, realizing quickly that they’d been given a fake phone number to call.

As of last week, 38.5% of Pennsylvanians 18 and older were not vaccinated, or 23.5% in zip 19118. There are a variety of reasons, already documented elsewhere. I recently met an anti-vaxxer who called the pandemic lockdown the “period of authoritarianism” though after a few minutes it seemed her main objection was that she had not been chosen as the authoritarian. Personally, I am lazy. Spending a half-hour getting a shot is less work than spending 2-4 hours a day researching all the reasons I might be exempt from biology.

Restaurant workers, service workers of all kind, are trapped in this situation. Hugh Gilmore, also in this week’s Local, writes about the dilemma in hotels, restaurants and bookstores, where the staff is masked, or not, depending on a variety of policies that might not be based on anything more scientific than trusting the customer to not come in sick.

 In an interview last week with Bloomberg News, Dr. Anthony Fauci said once vaccines have final approval “I would encourage private enterprises to seriously consider the idea of mandating vaccination in the enterprise for which they are responsible, whether that’s a university or a place of business.”

How do we prove we’re vaccinated, and when? The PA card is notoriously slightly-too-big for a wallet. There are a variety of apps, standard employee IDs that can be adapted, but whether those would be considered valid forms of proof in another state is another matter. The SMART Health Card is a national standard for digital vaccine certificates based on technology from Boston Children’s Hospital. It is not a federal system, though if it’s successful it would serve the purpose. It would sit in your phone, next to your GrubHub and DoorDash apps.

Walt Maguire

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here