Countries where Covid-19 rates are low might soon start demanding inoculation information before they let tourists in. It’s not that different from parents showing proof of vaccination typically required to enroll kids in American schools, or those little yellow vaccine cards already required to travel in countries threatened by yellow fever, tuberculosis or other scourges. Yet the idea of “vaccine passports” has become the latest object of right-wing politicians’ outrage.
Everyone’s favorite conspiracy theorist Marjorie Taylor Greene, a member of Congress from Georgia, branded vaccine passports as “Biden’s mark of the beast” and “fascism or communism or whatever you want to call it.” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a potential Republican 2024 presidential candidate, has also seized on the idea as an issue that will play to the GOP base. “It’s completely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to impose upon you the requirement that you show proof of vaccine to just simply be able to participate in normal society,” DeSantis said.
Nevertheless, it is an ethical minefield. Should businesses bar people who are not vaccinated? Can employers make vaccines a condition for accepting a new job? Certainly vaccines should be available to anyone who wants one before such filtering systems are introduced. But equally, is it fair for an American who endangers others by refusing vaccination to get the same benefits as others? Rent-a-quote politicians stirring fear and anger about the issue are not doing much to help.
Team USA athletes are now permitted to hold up a fist, kneel, and wear garments promoting racial and social justice at competitions, according to new rules published Tuesday by the US Olympic & Paralympic Committee. Those who choose to do so will be following in a well-trod path — Tommie Smith and John Carlos, gold and bronze medalists in the 200 meters, made history at the 1968 Olympic Games with the black power salute in support of African Americans’ civil rights.
Postcard from London
My hands are chapped from a day wiping down patients’ chairs with disinfectant as a volunteer at a local Covid-19 vaccination center — they didn’t have gloves in my size. But raw knuckles seem like a small price to pay for my tiny role in getting the United Kingdom vaccinated.
Those problems require permanent and profound changes in human behavior on a massive scale — the kind of changes that we initially needed to prevent the spread of Covid-19, but now thanks to vaccines, are preparing to forget. — CNN’s Richard Greene writes from London