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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

VACCINE PASSPORTS: A step forward in the right direction or a gateway for mandatory vaccines?

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Amid growing concerns over the spread of Covid-19 and in particular new variants of the virus, the EU has plans to implement a vaccine certificate system for non-essential travel in an attempt to redeem some of the normality that we once enjoyed pre-pandemic. To some people, this a step forward in the right direction especially with the possibility of future pandemics to prevent us from enduring prolonged lockdowns once a vaccination has been manufactured; however, to others, this is not a step forward nor is it a step backwards but a step into a slippery slope that inevitably leads us to a world where vaccines are mandatory. In an attempt to find common ground between these two sides, we shall weigh out the validity of their claims.

A progressive step forward

It’s not an overstatement to understand that the development of medical science has brought incredible progress to our society. As our society develops and evolves, new viruses and diseases come with it.

Although some of these viruses are more harmful than others, vaccinations are currently the only major way that we can control the spread of said viruses and most importantly prevent a less harmful virus from mutating into something far more dangerous.

The current outbreak of the Covid-19 virus which originally broke out in Wuhan has once again revealed the true efficacy of vaccinations. Since the vaccinations were administered to the Irish population, the Covid-19 death rate has been greatly reduced and has practically been brought to a halt.

This can be a result of inoculating the elderly and vulnerable population first as they are more prone to severe illness from the virus. A study from Public Health England also revealed that at least 33,000 hospital admissions have been prevented in the UK as a result of the vaccine.

It’s understandable as to why people believe that vaccine passports/certificates are reasonable. In the case of Covid-19, a virus that practically affected the entire world in a matter of months, some form of a system must be implemented to allow people to enjoy the life that they once knew.

Vaccine passports seem to be the only answer for now in terms of how people can travel to other countries without the requirement of mandatory quarantine.

In a world that has been restricted by strict health measures, that have been implemented to control the spread of Covid-19, the idea of having some form of a document that reveals an individual’s vaccination status to allow non-essential travel is merely that of a progressive idea. It can definitely be seen as progress in the right direction or at least temporary progress towards a less restrictive society but is there a flip side?

A Gateway to Mandatory Vaccines

The old saying, “desperate times call for desperate measures” is quite prevalent in the current situation that we are living in. Desperate measures such as vaccine passports must be implemented in an attempt to control the spread of the virus but also allow a desperate society to redeem some normality in the form of travelling abroad. Concerns arise when we consider that nobody makes wise decisions when they’re desperate and as a result miss the bigger picture of what they’re agreeing to.

We are all desperate to experience so-called normality again and willing to accept vaccine passports as the norm but is this really a step forward in the right direction? Does this new system imply that if you are not vaccinated then you are forbidden to travel abroad? These are the questions that we must be asking.

Although vaccine passports are a good idea, they only work in a temporary scenario before it becomes questionable what the real agenda behind them may be. We all have the freedom to chose for ourselves and this also applies to vaccinations. If for whatever reason, you choose to not take the vaccine, then that is within your right, but what happens when your choice has severe consequences such as not being allowed to travel outside your country?

Whether you are pro-vaccine or anti-vaccine, we have to understand that it’s undemocratic to deny an individual the right to travel abroad because of a choice that they made. Is it possible that vaccine passports will create a slippery slope, where we eventually accept them as a new way of travelling and as a result are left with no choice but to take the vaccine? Only time will tell which outcome will come true but hopefully, vaccine passports will only be used on a temporary basis to allow people to travel abroad while the virus situation is brought under control.

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