The discussion of how medicine and politics got so wrapped up will carry on for decades. For the moment, though, it raises practical issues. Like, 49% of Republican men refuse to get vaccinated. What’s the implication for society when large demographics think similarly? It’s going to create some significant problems for those cultures. On the flipside, societies where vaccinations are welcomed are facing different issues.
Israel, who’s led the charge with vaccinations, no doubt had been thinking ahead to what a post-vaccine pre-end-of-pandemic future might look like, and their answer, with which I completely agree, is a vaccine passport. They have what’s called a Green Pass, basically a QR code you can carry around, printed out or on your phone. The pass is valid for 6 months after your second shot has kicked in, and it gives you all the freedom you’d expect to have when you yourself are not a danger to those around you. Pubs, restaurants, concert venues, sporting events, whatever… they’ll scan your code and in you go. Some restaurants will only allow valid pass holders inside, but everyone else is welcome to sit outside. This makes sense on every level.
We are still unfortunately far from this… close to 60% of Israelis have had at least one dose. Our number is a little under 12%. But I would urge our powers that be to think ahead a bit, and not get caught with our pants down as we have with this vaccine rollout.
Start planning NOW for this infrastructure; it’s not complicated… just a robust, secure back-end that connects to a subset of people’s medical records (specifically, only vaccination info) and plugs it into a user-friendly front end. I have this all so clearly designed in my head… I could whiteboard the whole thing for you in 20 minutes and if you say go, I promise you… it’ll be done in 4 months. If someone had given me that “Go!” 4 months ago, it’d be done already. And it’s not like I’m some genius; this isn’t complicated. I know development teams, both here and in Israel, that would make short work of it. I know some fantastic development teams who’d love to sink their teeth into this. I’d be happy to make the introductions and get this thing rolling on every level.
That being said, I’d be very surprised if this isn’t already well on its way to rollout. It should be. It’d better be. At the beginning of this pandemic, there were plenty of unknowns, and tough decisions were made, mitigating risk/reward with people’s livelihoods and/or a virus that could kill them. I am not envious of the people who had to make those touch choices, and I’ve been impressed that they’ve been more right that wrong.
But all that being said, I will unleash a lot of anger if suddenly one day, when 49% of us are vaccinated and itching to get back to the real world… we’re told that a vaccine passport is in the works and should be ready in a few months. I will seriously lose it. Unknowns are one thing, but this is all known. Every single little aspect of it can be predicted, planned and developed. There is NO excuse. ZERO… for not having a fully-functioning system in place the moment we need it. In fact, there’s no reason it couldn’t already be starting a slow rollout… getting the back-end to businesses who can start planning around it, and getting the App into all our hands so that 2 minutes after we’re jabbed, the entire infrastructure knows all about it. We are all carrying around devices that serve both as the passport and the scanner. This is not complicated… and I don’t really care who does it; I’m happy to help if it’s needed… but, seriously, I hope someone is laughing at the thought… because they’ve already been at it since November.