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The Vaccine Passport Dilemma Part 1: How the Vaccine Passport Exacerbates Existing Inequalities In Society

We all want to get back to normal. The Biden administration says we can “get back to normal by Christmas” if we get vaccination rates up. Critical to this plan is the adoption of the vaccine passport by the business community. The message of “getting back to normal” is an enticing one for a public tired of COVID restrictions. But we should take caution here. 

During the pandemic, the government public health institutions promised us solutions that failed to meet expectations. Based on faulty Imperial College models, we were promised lockdowns as a short-term solution that would contain the pandemic.We were promised that mask mandates would stop COVID-19 despite their ambiguous evidence for efficacy and the later evidence that showed less than promised benefits.

Now we are offered the latest “solution” from public health that follows in their tradition of using social control to control public behavior with the vaccine passport. The same recipe is used - the media promising the benefits and discounting the concerns with the familiar message of “finally, this solution will end the pandemic!” while forgetting that each previously deployed solution has had negative costs. 

We should take pause indeed. The vaccine passport is the most controversial and divisive solution presented yet. As we will see, the vaccine passport has unintended, unforeseen consequences for our society, exposing and exacerbating the fault lines in our society, and should not be implemented. 

The Vaccine Passport - Incentive or Coercion?

Los Angeles Times op-ed makes a case for the vaccine passport: “If protecting themselves isn’t enough to encourage people to get the shot, perhaps changing the incentives will be… But vaccine passports aren’t coercive. And as for encouraging vaccination, would that be such a bad thing?” 

But is it truly an “incentive” when once normal activities are forbidden to those that do not comply with the government's actions? Is it an “incentive” when the threat of force is used to achieve compliance? This seems like a faux choice; either comply to gain immediate benefits or continue to face penalties. 

The list of “non-coercive options” is telling. You can opt to homeschool your child instead of sending him or her to public school or opting to remain home instead of going to that theater, concert, or restaurant. Does a single working-class mother even have the resources to homeschool their child? Call it an “incentive” or “coercion,” but strategic usage of language does little to hide underlying hypocrisy before a more than ever cynical public.

The media’s euphemisms hide the greater coercion undertaken in the name of vaccination, but the hypocrisies are apparent. Segregation is not okay when applied to race but okay when it comes to vaccination status. For example, the media decries business owners who won’t serve black people, but don’t flinch when the vaccine passport is used to exclude those that do not want to take the COVID vaccine.It is not okay to disallow black children from attending certain public schools, but okay when it is applied to healthy, unvaccinated children. 

It is not permissible for the media to use racial slurs, but it is okay to slur people who choose not to vaccinate by calling them anti-vaccinate or anti-science. We want people to have a voice, but it is okay for public health, acting through proxies like Facebook and Twitter, to restrict freedom of speech for those who have experienced vaccine injury or are critical of COVID-19 responses.

Yes, if it quacks like a duck, it's still a duck no matter what you call it. The vaccine passport is coercion

Your Vaccination Status, Please! - The New Inequality? 

It is a reality that different racial, ethnic, or gender groups have a higher proportion of COVID deaths. Indeed, it is a worthy goal to reduce health inequalities by reducing social disparities in health. For public health, the easy answer is “vaccine equity” - the philosophy of making sure the vulnerable populations are vaccinated so they will be protected by infectious disease. 

But should health inequality be reduced by replacing it with a different form of inequality? Does the public health definition of vaccine equity all-encompassing of what constitutes inequality?

The media often talks about inequality that encompasses race, gender, and class. It doesn’t often talk about power inequality between groups. Nor does it recognize that group status is larger than just the characteristics mentioned earlier. According to the sociology literature, group membership can be based on any arbitrary criterion, including vaccination status. 

Then, what if powerful groups in society (i.e., public health, medicine, politicians, Silicon Valley technologists, etc.) get to use their power and institutional control to coerce people based on vaccination status or beliefs? 

Vaccine passports can become part of one’s public identity and can work as a social currency. This enables a Big Brother-esque line of questioning, “Are you a good citizen? Have you done your part against the pandemic? Have you vaccinated?”

In this current environment where the American public already has outstanding concerns regarding privacy and government surveillance, the vaccine passport only heightens these existing concerns. It augments the ability of powerful non-government entities to exert their control over the populace. Thus, existing power differences are exacerbated and the people feel more disenfranchised. 

Public health has the wrong metric for equity when it talks of vaccine equity but ignores the larger concerns of the American public. The underlying problem of public health is that it embeds a colonialist mentality- it implicitly positions itself as “knowing what is best for an ‘ignorant’ public.”

When  income inequality has been rising for decades in America, do we need to create new power inequalities based on medical status? Vaccine passports lay the groundwork for new inequalities. Then where does it stop? Will we forever be subject to the changing whims of public health?

Can We Push Vaccine Passports Knowing About Vaccine Injuries?

The media op-eds for the vaccine passports all miss the critical public concern of vaccine injury. Should the business community even be the one to make such moral decisions to enforce vaccine passports when we know that the COVID vaccine will harm a certain proportion of the populace?

Public health has taken a hush-hush philosophical stance when it comes to the topic of vaccine injury. Public health implicitly encourages the media’s portrayal of those that question the COVID vaccine as engaging in conspiratorial thinking. Yet paradoxically, it acknowledges the side effects of the COVID vaccine and tells the public they are normal and to be expected.

While the media claims that vaccine injuries are “very rare.” There is the curious question of the multitude of vaccine-injury reports reported to the. Up to March 26, 2021, the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System recorded 50,861 reports of adverse events, including 2,249 deaths and 7,726 serious injuries, following the COVID vaccine.  

What kind of product offered to the public has this kind of safety record? The Ford Pinto with its exploding gas engines was recalled for less than 500 deaths. The drug Vioxx was recalled after it led to approximately 27,000 deaths

Keep in mind that we do not yet know the full extent of health repercussions associated with the COVID-19 vaccine. Despite the claims of thorough safety testing, multiple countries have banned the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine. Not to mention, the US government public health authorities were caught off guard by the cases of fatal thrombosis associated with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. The same risks could be present with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines too.

Is thrombosis the only serious side effect? No, there is the concern of autoimmune disease as well.

According to Dr. Hooman Noorchashm: “In the case of SARS-CoV-2, we know that the virus naturally infects the heart, the inner lining of blood vessels, the lungs, and the brain. So, these are likely to be some of the critical organs that will contain persistent viral antigens in the recently infected — AND, following reactivation of the immune system by a vaccine, these tissues can be expected to be targeted and damaged.”

We know that some 20% of the American populace has been previously infected by the SaRs-Cov-2 virus. Why is there a lack of precaution regarding disseminating the vaccine to those people? Are we exposing the populace to unknown risks?

Some people taking the COVID vaccine have experienced life-altering injuries. In an interview with CBSN, Healthcare worker Sung Cho reported after the shot: “I couldn’t move my arm. I could only move it about 10 degrees, lifting my arm, before excruciating pain, like a knife going through my shoulder. I can’t lift my kids up anymore. I can’t play basketball. I can’t play with them anymore. I thought my life was over.”

Lately, there have been many reports of abnormal menstrual cycles and heavy menstruation in women that have taken the COVID vaccine. The Times recently reported on these adverse conditions in a tongue-in-cheek article titled “People Are Reporting Unexpected Side Effects After COVID-19 Vaccination—But That's Actually Normal.”

The Times article reported about a 29-year old woman who experienced adverse effects after her 2nd dose of the Pfizer vaccine: “The fever, body aches and fatigue she felt were nothing surprising. But when she began experiencing heavy, ‘stupidly painful, debilitating’ menstrual periods, she felt blindsided. ‘I had not heard a single person talking about it,’ she says.”

To the Times magazine - No, these unexpected side effects are not normal. It’s time to stop pretending that they are. 

The media dismisses vaccine injury as anecdotal but misses each complaint of harm. Each case report builds the case for the inconvenient conclusion: the vaccine is harming the public. And it is quite suspicious when the same public health system tasked with attesting to the safety of the vaccine is dismissing public concerns without thorough investigation.

These are questions that public health would like to avoid because science does not yet know the answer.  Why didn’t the COVID vaccine safety trials catch the risk of thrombosis before widespread dissemination? How pervasive are COVID vaccine side effects? Does science fully know the underlying biology of vaccine injuries, including the abnormal menstrual cycles in women? What is the long-term safety profile of the COVID vaccines? 

Perhaps it is time for public health and the medical system to stop gaslighting those who have experienced vaccine injury and be humble in the face of what it doesn’t know. In light of denial, those experiencing vaccine injuries have little recourse but share their social media experiences

The above considerations should give the business community some pause before adopting the vaccine passport

Vaccine Passports - Do the Ends Justify the Means?

With vaccination, a strange kind of “the ends justify the means'' philosophy is permitted. From public health’s viewpoint, the right answer has been decided for the public: the individual must take the vaccine. 

The vaccine passport is symbolic of this philosophy and forced choice. In a way, it also symbolizes the worst of the COVID-19 response and heralds the new normal in which “rule by expert” dictates the behaviors and choices of the common person, wielding their coercive power masked as “incentives.”

Individual choice and freedom do not exist for the scientists and the public health specialist- they are unquantifiable, non-tangible things that are irrelevant to the primary goal of containing the SaRs-Cov-2 virus. 

However, to an individual, their freedom and choice matter a lot. It is the crucial thing.

The media misses the irony here - liberal news institutions like the Washington Post, whose motto is “Democracy dies in darkness,” offer faux choice and one-sided dialogue to the public regarding the vaccine passport, done ultimately to influence the vaccination decision.

No wonder the common people have become distrustful of the government and the media. The concerns of the common people have become lost in the “war on the virus.” The working and middle classes have been slowly losing economic ground for decades, and, under the thumb of the COVID-19 pandemic response, they face loss of power as well. 

Vaccine passports are symbolic of the fundamental problem - the “trust us, we know what is best for you” message, though driven by new technology, is outdated and old-fashioned; it exacerbates the problem and heightens existing rifts in America. 

What’s the use in stopping a pandemic if it means giving up the American values and ideals? There’s already blowback happening, and it is time for the government and the media to acknowledge it. 

What’s the answer then? Perhaps the start to fixing a problem is not to make it worse.

America needs healing. It needs bridge-building, not divisions. We need to strengthen democracy, not undermine it by disregarding concerns and censoring dissent. We need the common people to feel like participants in democracy instead of being recipients of fake dialogue promulgated by hired public relations firms whose purpose is to give an illusion of choice.

The Vaccine Passport Dilemma Part 2: The Vaccine Passport and Technocratic Dominance


Nate Doromal is an activist and writer within the Vaccine Awareness and Vaccine Safety movement. He is a veteran software engineer, formerly with Google, who now works in finance. He holds an MS and an MBA in Computer Science from the University of Chicago. He holds an Executive MBA from the Smartly Institute. He was originally trained on vaccines and vaccine activism by Dr. Sherri Tenpenny in her Mastering Vaccine Info Bootcamp. He has also studied immunological science extensively with Dr. Tetyana Obukhanych through her Building Bridges Course.