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MY WORD: The case for vaccine passports

MY WORD: The case for vaccine passports

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Let’s discuss vaccine passports — those digital verifications that you have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Everywhere they’re used ,they are passes to events and places that are denied to others without them, offering a way to achieve a near normal life until we once again have the real thing.

To start, there is a gulf between true nonbelievers and the rest of us. The arguments against having them at all are either some variant of, ‘they are invasive state control’ or ‘this is unfair to the non-vaccinated’.

Though I have some sympathy for the latter argument, I find neither carries much weight. It’s far past time to admit that we’re in a war, and we need every advantage to win.

This is a powerful tool if it’s allowed — see Govs. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Greg Abbott of Texas for silly arguments to the contrary.

So let’s look at our involuntary war. No one asked to have a highly contagious, highly-dangerous virus in our lives, but it’s here.

Likewise, no one can avoid the risk of getting infected by doing nothing — and that’s the problem.

Until the vaccines came online, the only protections we had involved controlled behavior.

No one likes to wear a mask, socially distance from friends and family, and avoid public gatherings, yet most of us comply — if reluctantly. Others don’t. For some, it’s an imposition on their freedom, though not complying is an imposition on those of us who do.

In short, we’re fighting a holding action against a committed enemy, and many refuse to join the fight, which brings us to the vaccines now readily available to most and soon to all.

Like most in the pro-vaccine crowd, I got mine as soon as I could. So did my wife, son, daughter-in-law and soon their children as well. In other words, we’re doing our part and keeping ourselves safe — but what of the reluctant?

On the social level, they suffer no loss from doing nothing, and we gain nothing for complying. That’s incredibly short sighted. There should always be a benefit for doing the right thing, and the vaccine passport is the path to making that happen.

It’s not a new idea. The Israeli version allows the verifiably vaccinated, and only the verifiably vaccinated, to comingle in much the same manner as pre-COVID life: no masks, no distancing and full access to bars, restaurants and travel — even on cruise ships. I call that an inducement, and a big one!

Are some innocent people disadvantaged? Yes. It’s impossible to be selective and not. For those with medical conditions that prevent them from being vaccinated the side benefit is less immediate, but anything that increases the overall number and rate of vaccinations will lead much sooner to herd immunity. That’s their vaccination.

For those who simply refuse for ideological reasons, I have no sympathy at all. Please move to Brazil where your view of the world is very popular, and the opportunity to get sick even higher than it is here. Let the rest of us get on with our lives.

David Horn is a fully vaccinated retired engineer living at Smith Mountain Lake. He wrote this for The Roanoke Times.

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