During this extraordinarily dark time, where governments around the world have removed many basic human liberties for many of us – our right to visit family and friends, to travel, to work and earn money, to eat out, visit a cultural or sporting event, to disagree with government policy via protest, to even get a haircut – there is a tiny spark of light in all this blackness.
And that is, that people are starting to rise up and say no.
Take vaccine passports, which Australia, Denmark, and Sweden have committed to implementing, and Israel has already begun issuing, in the form of “green passes” to vaccinated residents.
Elsewhere, the people are starting to fight back. Right now, the UK government is floating the idea of a vaccination ID (officially called ‘Covid-status certification system’) that people must carry in order to go into a pub or a theater, or to travel to foreign countries – in other words, to go anywhere where there are other people.
Although under the Coronavirus Act (just renewed) the government has emergency wartime powers to do basically anything it likes with no debate in Parliament, it was forced to hold such a parliamentary review because of a petition being circulated and signed across the country.
The petition being signed is called ‘Do not rollout Covid-19 vaccine passports’ and at present there are 316,121 signatures and counting in support of this position.
Compare that to the petition ‘Introduce a Vaccination Passport for international travel,’ which has a paltry 5,920 signatures at this writing.
In Europe, individual members of the European Parliament have received thousands of emails from people opposed to the introduction of vaccine passports to enable travel to resume in the European Union.
The European version being floated would also enable people to circulate not only if they have been vaccinated but also if they have tested negative or have antibodies after recovering from Covid-19.
Many European MPs are disparaging of the letters, mistaking the objections, which mostly have to do with a curtailment of freedom, as all part of a crazed ‘anti-vax’ lobby from outside the EU.
As Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher put it: ‘Some people have views that it’s a breach of fundamental rights in terms of transport and travel, others have views that vaccination hasn’t proved to be successful and it’s all part of a conspiratorial agenda,” he added. “They go to strange, appalling comparisons between Jewish people and Germany in the ’30s having to wear the star.”
In America, although New York has created an “Excelsior Pass,” which permits the vaccinated attendance at theaters, arenas, event venues, and large weddings, across the States the public remains deeply divided about the idea of a vaccine passport, with about half opposed in a recent poll.
Most arguments in favor emphasize the aspect of social responsibility – it’s your civic duty to get a passport so you don’t infect others.
Except that logic is utterly flawed.
As every government and medical authority has made clear, Covid-19 vaccines don’t stop you from passing on Covid-19 to others; at its best, it prevents you (the vaccinated person) from dying if you are at high risk.
If you’re not at high risk – and the vast majority of people are not – you won’t die from it anyway.
If you want to object to a vaccine passport, my advice is not to use as your argument that the vaccines aren’t safe.
We have some experience of how to protest about a decade ago, when Orange, a British cell phone company, announced its intention to install eight cell towers in our community, with one planned right on our block, directly across from our younger daughter’s bedroom window.
The majority of members of our town — in particular our immediate neighborhood — were alarmed about the potential detrimental effects of a cell tower on our health, especially that of our children, as well as on our property values and the general esthetics of the neighborhood.
About 10 of us met at our house one evening. One of the businessmen took it upon himself to study the law, to see which grounds we could use to protest. Because the health issues believed to be linked to cell phone towers are controversial and were not, at the time, considered valid grounds for a reasonable objection, our greatest challenge was defining what exactly we were objecting to.
We had to rely on other factors – esthetic issues, or threats to the safety of pedestrians in wheelchairs or mothers with strollers — to make our case.
Several neighbors scouted around and eventually located sparsely populated sites in the area where phone towers could be placed as a reasonable alternative.
A neighbor approached the headmistress of the public Catholic school on our street and all the ministers of all the other local churches for their support.
Our next-door neighbor built and painted a giant luminous orange box, in the dimensions of the proposed tower, and parked it on the proposed location to give the neighborhood a visceral idea of the sheer dimension of this proposed tower and exactly how much of an unsightly and cumbersome impediment it would present on our sidewalks.
As owners of a small publishing company, my husband and I volunteered to design and produce the posters and produce and print fact sheets, and letters to our local council and petitions for Parliament.
We parceled up the area and took turns leafleting. Some of the women stood outside school gates and knocked on the doors of every unit in every apartment building; others contacted our MP.
One of the families with a distant link with Orange organized a meeting with a company representative, and invited our parliamentary representative, during which we discussed our objections and proposed a reasonable alternative.
We were clear that we meant business; if they refused to take our concerns on board we would launch a boycott of Orange’s network.
Within a few weeks, Orange withdrew its petition.
Several years later, they were back – and so were we. We resurrected our local email list, updated and reprinted the petitions and the fact sheets, and within month, after hundreds of letters of protest had been sent to our local council, they again turned Orange down.
What was largely a 10-person-strong housewives’ brigade chased away one of the giants of British industry permanently.
So, if you are going to object, here are a few suggestions for how to do so most effectively:
Don’t make it about Covid vaccine dangers. You’ll get dismissed as an anti-vax crank, no matter how much science you include.
But DO point out the following:
Covid vaccines DON’T protect the community. At best, they protect vulnerable individuals from dying of Covid. You are not being socially responsible by getting the jab; you are possibly being individually responsible if you are at risk.
A vaccine passport is discriminatory against those who cannot get a shot for medical reasons. The Covid vaccine is contraindicated in those with serious allergies at risk of anaphylactic shock. Considering how many countries are now banning the Astra Zeneca vaccine because of potential risk of deep vein thrombosis, anyone at risk of DVT, whether from drugs or such things as joint replacements, is being discriminated against because of the shot.
A vaccine passport is discriminatory against minority communities. For many cultural reasons, African Americans and members of black and Asian communities are eschewing the vaccine. A vaccine passport will only encourage discriminatory behavior against and ostracization of such minorities.
A vaccine passport is contrary to the human rights laws of many nations. Both UNESCO’s Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights (Article 6) and European and UK law say that any preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic medical intervention can only be carried out with the informed consent of the person concerned ‘based on adequate information.’
All Covid vaccines are in the midst of phase 3 trials. They were given emergency clearance, but they have not passed all the safety tests normally given a vaccine. We will not know how effective and safe they are for many months. That is not ‘adequate information to make an informed consent.’
In the UK, the government is holding a second consultation to consider ethical, legal and operational issues, as well as the efficacy and appropriateness of a vaccine passport. It is still open until 23:59 on Monday 3rd May 2021. If you would like to object, write here.
You can also sign the petition.
In Europe, write to your MEP.
In America, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr of the Children’s Health Defense, a vociferous critic of the Covid vaccine rollout and lockdown, is urging people to write to their individual congresspeople if they wish to object to vaccine passports.
Do so before it’s too late. Rage, rage before the dying of the light.