Vaccine Passports are a Sinister Step Toward A Grave New World
“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Benjamin Franklin.
Vaccine passports are not only disproportionate but potentially ineffective. They are also, quite simply, illegal. By ring-fencing freedom, whether it be access to a pub, nightclub, or a university lecture, liberal democracies are creating two classes of citizens. Citizens cannot be coerced to take a vaccine. The long-term effects of this vaccine have not been fully ascertained. Indeed, the risk-reward benefit becomes tighter for younger age groups.
The yellow card reporting (doctor and patient side effect reporting) is in its infancy. However, clinical data is becoming more reliable by the day. By conceiving the unvaccinated as wholly ‘anti-vax’ is foolish and dangerous. There may be many who are simply hesitant about this particular vaccination programme. Some are waiting mere months to make their decision, seeking further clarity. There are several vaccines available with different efficacy and side effects amongst different age groups. The government is rushing people into making medical decisions. Instead, the government should allow people to exercise their right to bodily autonomy. Individuals should be able to ensure they are getting the vaccine safest for their age group.
While those with concerns may be mocked for their feelings, the fact is that these concerns exist. Many on the fence about vaccination may wish to do more research and discuss their choice with family, friends, and medical professionals. They should be given the ability to do so. Even if someone is anti-vax, this is also a position that should be acceptable in a democratic society. To say otherwise would accept a precedent whereby the state could mandate other medical interventions in the future and potentially pursue a far more nefarious agenda.
It is often debated whether such passes should exist. Seldom is it considered whether they actually can exist. They appear inherently illegal and discriminatory. It is likely that this policy will be challenged in the courts. Hopefully, it will be struck down with haste. This coercive vaccination policy (if not mandatory vaccination by stealth) is contrary to article 6 of the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights. The declaration comments: medical interventions may only be carried out with “the free and informed consent of the individual and without any disadvantage or prejudice if that consent is withdrawn”. By denying people access to effective education, healthcare, and social lives it is obvious that those who decide to remain unvaccinated will be severely disadvantaged.
Vaccination must be a choice, even if ignoring such facts would save lives. To do otherwise would condemn future generations to an emerging medical dictatorship. The presentation of documentation and legal precedents that erode the sacrosanct principles of medical consent could become a permanent feature of modern life.
Invoking Churchillian pragmatism Johnson can pretend that this is acceptable, claiming it is a necessary sacrifice, rooted in the same fortitude as wartime decision-making. However, this policy is in fact appeasement to the virus and more accurately fear and mass hysteria. In the same manner that sacrifice secured freedom against the Nazis, accepting the risks that Covid presents to society in order to inoculate ourselves against tyranny, as well as the virus, is a necessity. Even if the death count from Covid is eventually higher as a result.
Not only has it been found that such moves are likely to increase vaccine hesitancy, but doubts have also been cast over their effectiveness in controlling the spread. A more effective way of controlling the spread of the virus would be rapid testing before and after large events. Holding a pass does not prevent transmission or infection.
Furthermore, if exemptions are part of the equation in order to get such measures past the courts they must extend beyond “genuine health grounds”. They should apply to anyone for any reason. To do otherwise would continue to amount to coercive vaccination and to allow for such exemptions would defeat the point of the scheme. Either the government has to break fundamental human rights laws or introduce a system that is entirely ineffective.
Those who think they will be spared from this tyranny having had their double doses are severely mistaken. People will be forced to carry documentation as if they were citizens of soviet Russia and have their privacy infringed on a daily basis. Indeed we could find that this passport comes with an expiry date. When the eventual call for boosters reaches beyond the immune-compromised, a whole new situation could emerge. People will rush to renew what will be an essential licence for a normal life as they would a normal passport for international travel.
The case for these passes appears to involve the acceptance of the new relationship between the state and the individual. The argument follows that if we accept vaccine passports we don’t have to lockdown and our freedoms can be returned. Yet lockdown and the seizing of freedom is not something the state should be entitled to do.
Exchanging one freedom for another is not something I wish to do. Holding freedoms hostage makes me no more likely to follow the lemmings off the cliff edge. Unlike most, I wish to return to the old normal rather than toss myself into the abyss of the new. We have come a long way from the early days of Covid where petty social media challenges could distract from a three-week inconvenience. A darkness has now descended and people have either become numb to the experience or have begun to become deeply concerned about the trajectory of travel. At this fork in the road we must properly consider what is being proposed or else any hope of returning to the old normal will be entirely out of reach.
Written by Conservative Writer, Oliver Pike
Point of Information
Choice? Yes. Consequences? – A Liberal Response
As a Liberal, my opinion on vaccine passports may come as a surprise. It is everyone’s choice regarding the vaccine but this choice does not mean it cannot come without consequences. If vaccine passports are considered, those not wishing to get the vaccine must understand the consequences of their choice. The vaccine is the sole reason the UK deaths are as low as they currently are. It is the sole reason that we are out of lockdown and have been able to enjoy the summer. Indeed, it is the sole reason that we are beginning to get back to life as we once knew it.
From a moral point of view, I have no concerns. I myself have lost a close member of my family to Covid-19. I cannot understand why those that are not prepared to get vaccinated to protect others, should not be restricted if necessary. Additionally, Oliver’s claim that passports would be ineffective is simply untrue. If you are vaccinated you are less likely to be infected: “REACT study shows fully vaccinated are three times less likely to be infected“.
An event that is passport-controlled should lead to a lower level of the spread of Covid, than one which isn’t.
Ultimately, the vaccine is a choice. But, as with all of our choices, there are consequences. If you cannot travel abroad or attend an event without a vaccine passport then those are the consequences.
Written by Liberal Writer, Fletcher Kipps
Vaccine Passports Are Not The Solution – A Labour Response
I want to start this by saying I’m completely pro-vaccines. I have witnessed the devastating loss Covid has caused first-hand. However, I can also see the other side. As Oliver says, not everyone opting against vaccination has done so to simply follow conspiracy and join anti-vaxxers. As I said previously, there are also real fears and concerns behind this. So it does seem somewhat unfair to punish these people. Vaccination remains a choice.
However, it is not difficult to see the logic behind vaccine passports. They offer protection for both people’s health. There are significant benefits to businesses that don’t want to come to yet another halt. It also takes some pressure off the fears and anxiety on the other side of this; nobody wants to experience another lockdown or develop awful symptoms.
The question remains how do we apply these passports to children and teenagers as they begin to receive their vaccines? Can we stop children from attending their football practice or the cinema with friends? The issue being, children don’t have all the say in the decision.
While I can see both sides, I don’t think vaccine passports are the way forward. for moral and practical reasons.
However, I have to disagree with Oliver that we should just accept a higher death count. We shouldn’t. Deaths are not the answer. This isn’t something we should have to live with and one more death is one too many.
Vaccination is certainly one step towards normality and lower cases in the UK. Convincing people to be vaccinated will require more than denial to access to a club. It is much more likely to come from education and further research that can reassure people. Vaccine passports are ultimately ineffective in their capacity to persuade. And they are not a moral solution that will bring an end to this pandemic.
Written by Chief Labour Writer, Abi Clargo
I am an incoming third year undergraduate currently studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the University of Exeter. I am socially liberal, fiscally conservative editor here at POI. I have been fascinated by politics for many years, from PMQs to late night election results all which has led to the desire to study this at university.
I’m Abi! I am a liberal, political enthusiast from the Welsh valleys. Since I was young, I have been captivated by politics. I used to spend so much time watching the morning news before school, and have paid close attention to political campaigns for as long as I can remember. It was a lot later that I decided I wanted to pursue politics academically. Now, I have just finished my second year studying Politics and International Relations at the University of Exeter.