We’re going to have the option of a vaccination passport by the end of the year:
A vaccine passport is coming. New Zealanders will soon have access to digital proof that they’ve received a Covid-19 vaccination. Colloquially known as a “vaccine passport”, a government-run app will soon be as indispensable as a real passport for international travel. Many countries already require them to sit at a bar or attend a sports game. You can’t climb the Eiffel Tower without one.
Air New Zealand and Qantas have both announced that they’ll eventually require vaccine passports. Proof of vaccination is already a condition of entry for a number of countries around the world. Just as you can’t board many international flights now without the right visa, the vaccine passport will be added to your pre-flight checklist. . .
It will start as a requirement for overseas travel but it won’t stop there.
The health ministry has been clear that New Zealand’s passport is designed for international travel and said nothing about domestic use. Based on how the passports have evolved around the world, that won’t last.
What’s happened overseas. The UK rolled out the passports for international travel, only to then announce that they’ll be required to get into English nightclubs and other venues in England at the end of the month, the BBC has reported. Despite criticisms, the government has said it’s the only way to reopen the economy safely. In many cases, private industry was ahead of the British parliament, with Premier League clubs requiring fans to show proof of vaccination when they reopened stadiums to capacity crowds last month. . .
Sooner or later there’s going to be more freedom here for people who have been vaccinated and people who haven’t.
If people aren’t vaccinated because they choose not to be, they will have to change their minds or have less freedom.
But what about people who can’t be vaccinated, or who want to be vaccinated but can’t have the Pfizer vaccine?:
As the team of five million flood into vaccine centres each day to get their shots, a small group are unable to get the Pfizer mRNA vaccine.
They are not conspiracy theorists, or anti-vaxxers. They just need an alternative to Pfizer due to an ingredient in the mRNA vaccine that allows it to be stored at very low temperatures without freezing. . .
Then there are people who find it difficult to get to a vaccination centre, at least some of whom are Maori.
David Seymour raised the ire of many by tweeting the code sent to Maori allowing them to bypass the booking system.
The irate didn’t mention, or maybe didn’t know, that he is Maori. Heather du Plessis Allan pointed out that irony and added:
David Seymour is about the same age as I am, he’s Nga Puhi, I’m boring old Pakeha. Do you think he should get a Maori access code to get the jab earlier than me simply because he’s Maori?
There’s very little difference in our risk indicators for Covid.
Same age band, neither have health problems that bump us up the priority list, neither working on the front lines, neither living in over-crowded houses etc.
Should he get an access code simply because he’s Maori?
I think most of us would say no.
Because everything about David Seymour’s life tells us he’s not an especially vulnerable individual.
And yet he is lumped in as a member of a vulnerable community because of his tipuna, or ancestors.
Doesn’t that show the foolishness of making rules based on race?
It does, and that code isn’t the best way of reaching those who are missing out.
If you want to lift Maori vaccine rates – and I think we all do – there are better ways to do that without creating the division that the government is.
If the broader Maori community is statistically more vulnerable because it has a greater incidence of health problems or home overcrowding, give people with health problems or overcrowded houses priority access to jabs. We already do this for age and health and pregnancy and essential workers so it’s not impossible to extend the criteria a bit.
If the Maori community generally has greater difficulty getting to the jab, take the jab to them and every other community that has the same problem.
If the Maori community has a greater distrust of authority, get marae to administer the jab and then while you’re at it, do the same at churches because we know evangelical church members of every colour also tend to distrust authority. . .
It’s not only Maori who aren’t able to go to vaccination centers. A friend who works in a medical practice had a phone call from a patient who is housebound.
If we’re to have as many people as possible vaccinated, there must be alternative vaccines for those who want to be protected but can’t have the Pfizer one; and vaccinators are going to have to go to communities and individuals who for a variety of reasons can’t, or simply aren’t, going to vaccination centres.
The government is also going to have to come up with something for people who can’t be vaccinated and something other than an app for people who don’t have smart phones.
Once everyone who wants to be vaccinated is vaccinated, those who choose not to be will find their right to that choice will almost certainly restrict what they can do and where they can do it.
It would be unfair if people who can’t be vaccinated or don’t have smart phones were similarly disadvantaged.