You probably already have some kind of vaccine passport

Monday, TV personality said. Vaccination is important, and I encourage everyone to get the covid vaccine, but how would you feel if you needed to get other vaccines on international travel?

On tuesday He walked it back – But to thousands of people on Twitter, that seemed like a good question.

Not this.

Although the vaccine passport has emerged as the latest flashpoint in the Covid-1 pandemic epidemic, most people have some documentation to verify that they have already been vaccinated against certain diseases. And many public health experts say such evidence will be the key to bringing life back to normal in the future to prevent an outbreak of Covid-1.

“People have been suffering for more than a year and they want to get their lives back,” Lawrence Gostin, a professor of global health law at Georgetown University, told BuzzFeed News. “They want to go to restaurants, watch movies, travel to see their loved ones and go back to work. Vaccine passports provide a faster and safer return to normal life.

As vaccines are being widely distributed, the possibility of a passport for the Covid-1 vaccine vaccine is becoming real to many. The European Union could launch them in June. Israel, which leads the major countries in vaccines administered so far, has already launched one. China also has one. The UK is debating its own version. New York State has introduced a voluntary “Excelsior Pass” that shows proof of vaccination or negative tests for access to sporting events, music venues and businesses. At least eight major airlines, such as Walmart, are working on coronavirus passport versions.

More than 64 million people, or about 1 in 5 Americans, have so far been fully vaccinated against Covid-1.

But the federal government – including Anthony Fawcett, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – has made it clear so far that it will not lead the effort to create a national vaccine passport. Instead, it is working to revise more than a dozen versions created in the private sector.

Many Republican leaders have expressed reluctance to such a move, suggesting they would form a government overrich. On Friday, Florida Governor Ron de Santis signed an executive order banning the use of the Covid-1 vaccine passport in the state. On Sunday, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves told CNN that he also opposed them. On Tuesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott joined.

“Passports are a good idea,” Howard Merkel, a pediatrician and medical historian, told BuzzFeed News. “It’s very annoying and difficult for public health people to understand how it has become a politician.”

That politics has had a real impact. A recent survey found that only 50% of residents in the United States would support a voluntary document that verifies vaccination.

The debate in the United States has resumed in many ways about lockdown and contact tracing. Should US citizens accept restrictions on their personal freedoms in the name of public health? Will these temporary arrangements last long after they are needed? Will human privacy be protected? But the idea of ​​a vaccine passport is nothing new: the United States already has a patchwork of private and public entities that need to show people that they have been vaccinated.

“We already have a record of vaccinations in our medical records. The school keeps records of the children. Many hospitals keep it for their staff. These should be known, ”Gostin said.

To travel internationally, many people already need to prove that they have been vaccinated. To enter the United States, immigrants must provide a record of vaccinations against the disease – a total of 14 – including hepatitis A and B, two types of influenza, polio and chickenpox. The record is kept in a booklet issued by the World Health Organization. The U.S. Armed Forces, which sends its members around the world, requires about a dozen vaccinations, depending on where a person is deployed.

All 50 states also require children to be vaccinated for school admissions. In Florida, where De Santis is governor, children up to grade 12 in kindergarten need to be vaccinated against six diseases. California and Texas need seven each. Since the immunization requirements for schools are governed at the state level – there is no federal order – many states allow parents to have personal beliefs or religious exemptions. California is one of the states that removed such an exemption after the state was hit by a dangerous measles outbreak that began in 2015 at Disneyland.

As long as there were vaccines, public health officials would have to prove to people that they got them. Historian Jordan E. in Time magazine in the early 19th century. Immigration officials need proof of vaccination on Ellis Island in New York and Angel Island in San Francisco. Entrepreneurs have made it compulsory as a condition of employment. And during local outbreaks, the police will demand that people show that they have been vaccinated.

There are real concerns about vaccine passports. Some people are concerned about attacks on their digital rights or privacy. But Gostin, who wrote a research paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association on potential ethical issues, said the vaccine’s passport would contain very little information. “Vaccine passports protect your privacy in many ways. They do not need to disclose any information except whether you have received the vaccine, ”he wrote.

Others have questioned the validity of the evidence for vaccination in the United States, since so far black and Latino communities have been vaccinated at an incompletely low rate. Experts take it seriously but suggest that those concerns will be alleviated as vaccines become more widely available.

“Equity can’t be the next thought,” Gostin said. “We can’t have passports without vaccines,” he said. In a month or two, the vaccines will chase people, not the other way around. Everyone will have a fair shot if they get it. ”

Public health experts emphasize that it is understandable if people feel unsure about vaccine passports and encourage them to talk to healthcare providers if they have questions.

“My recommendation is to consult your doctor or the WHO or CDC’s website,” Merkel said. “Have a good conversation with your doctor. We don’t want to torture people.”

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