Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Health passports . . .

Following the G20 meeting in Bali, the leaders of the world’s largest economies issued a joint declaration in which, among other things, they called for the establishment of a global vaccine passport and digital health ID scheme. The statement says, in part: “We acknowledge the importance of shared technical standards and verification methods, under the framework of the IHR (2005), to facilitate seamless international travel, interoperability, and recognising digital solutions and non-digital solutions, including proof of vaccinations.” 

The issue of the Covid vaccines, their safety or not, is beyond the purview of this blog.  What my concern is here has more to do with the evolving restrictions upon travel that the pandemic has brought to the forefront.  Now it appears that the vaccines for Covid (and others as are deemed necessary) will become the price people must pay to have access to travel.  We already saw how this was at work in China as people were restricted from province to province.  Living in Tennessee, we heard the Kentucky governor request and require citizens of that state not to travel to Tennessee (or other states) who were not following the same strict mandates during the pandemic as was Kentucky.  While it may not quite have gotten to the point of troopers at the borders, the rhetoric was pretty high.

In the aftermath of the pandemic, many of the means used to control people's freedom for their own good have subtly become normative in the arsenal of state executives and health departments looking to manage the next great health crisis.  The use of these for global travel politicizes the vaccines and strips the right of choice from people.  They no longer can decide for themselves but must curtail the normal access they would have to travel if they make the wrong choice.

The G20 leaders said: “We support continued international dialogue and collaboration on the establishment of trusted global digital health networks as part of the efforts to strengthen prevention and response to future pandemics, that should capitalise and build on the success of the existing standards and digital Covid-19 certificates.”  Corporations, governments, and international organisations such as the World Bank and World Economic Forum have long promoted biometrics-based digital identity and health wallets — the so-called “digital passports” that, assigned to each citizen at birth, would contain a person’s vaccination status and other health data (such as genetic tests and mental health records), along with other information formerly presumed to be private -- demographic, financial, location, as well as biometric data. Already it is hard to know who has access to your biometric data -- your physician, health insurer, pharmacy, and a host of other interested parties.  Who will know where and why that information is shared -- all in the name of your best interest.

Again, I ask you extrapolate down the road from such rules.  Will there be a time in which other criteria will become as normative as public health to restrict people from travel, to deprive them of other ordinary liberties if they decide to violate the standards set by those who know better, and to presume that people have learned to comply rather than challenge such rules?  My friends, it may be that such a time has already come. 


Paulus said...

And yet we are to daily observe the buffoonery of a rationale that says it's alright for millions of illegal aliens to invade our country with impunity under the pretense of compassion for asylum seekers. No documentation necessary.

jdwalker said...

"The issue of the Covid vaccines, their safety or not, is beyond the purview of this blog."

And yet, that is the justification for the very actions you have concern about. The actions are benign because the vaccines are safe and effective; no reasonable person would object to receiving the vaccines and to showing proof of that in order to travel without harming others.

And if you don't do anything wrong, why would you object to your government monitoring your communications and financial transactions to better stop the wicked and protect the innocent.

As for myself, the safety and effectiveness of the covid vaccines has always been irrelevant. I reject the vaccines on moral grounds. In turn, I reject coerced or compulsory vaccination schemes, which we have in abundance beyond just the covid vaccines. It is immoral. The weakness of the LCMS leadership in response to these issues during the covid scare is appalling.

But it is still necessary to argue that not only are the vaccines not safe and effective, to deem them necessary, but that covid isn't that bad. If one doesn't believe either of those propositions from the outset of the covid scare, how about now? Are the limitations of the vaccines now or the current strains of covid now infecting the current population not significantly less scary to you? Now while there are some people who are still gripped with such fear that they wear masks and still believe the vaccines are saving lives, I believe that is a dwindling minority. I could be wrong.

So the next argument will be, but what about the next pandemic, maybe a bird flu crossover, etc. There will be fear on the horizon that justifies the responses. And this will be effective to some, and since leadership missed the boat already in terms of heading this off back when they didn't want to opine on the safety and effectiveness of the covid vaccines, vaccine coercion and mandates, and a host of other issues other than online communion, I suspect you are right that such a time has already arrived where we will see increasing restrictions on people for a broadening array of "it's for your own good and the good of the people" justifications.

Janis Williams said...

We are watching the evolution of a new religion, with commandments, stigma, sin, moral imperatives, etc. That is far more frightening than a vaccine injury.