An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
WITH ALL THE CONCERNS about losing personal liberties, physical and mental consequences of isolation, and even blood clots in one of the new vaccines, it’s little wonder there’s skepticism about the idea of COVID vaccine passports.
Is it just another erosion of our freedoms, another way for government to control us?
No, it isn’t. It’s a common sense way to provide more protection for ourselves and each other, and to ensure we’re able to open the economy and return some normalcy in our lives.
Would it create an inequity between those who have been vaccinated and those who are still waiting in line? Yes, but only temporarily until we get caught up.
Vaccine passports would allow us into movie theatres, arenas, hair salons, gyms and other venues that are currently either forbidden or, at least, greatly restricted. And, of course, they would greatly ease restrictions on international travel.
Would you rather fly in an airplane full of vaccinated passengers, or squeeze in beside some coughing, hacking traveller who’s been who-knows-where?
It could even lead to a quicker re-opening of our borders. Even cruise ships — those massive COVID-19 incubators — could hit the oceans again.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is thinking about vaccine passports for international travel but he’s much less enthusiastic about using them domestically. It brings up “questions of equity, questions of fairness,” he says.
Premier John Horgan holds a similar view: international travel yes, domestic uses not so much.
But that’s an easy position to take. International travel is a no brainer — we’ve always had to prove we have the right vaccinations to go to other countries. COVID-19 vaccine would be just one more.
Several other countries are already making use of vaccine passports both domestically and for international use. If we don’t get with it, we’ll be left behind, just as we have gotten so far behind on getting the vaccines into Canadian arms.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.