Pandemic Politics-- What's The GOP Strategy? To Cause Pain & Suffering By Banning Vaccine Passports?
Colorado's dumbest member of Congress, high school drop out and QAnon devotee Lauren Boebert tweeted this morning that "Vaccine Passports are unconstitutional" and added "Period." Not all high school drop-out are morons-- not by a long shot-- but Boebert is. Do GOP congressional sociopaths like her want Americans to die from COVID? It's hard, after watching clips from CNN's upcoming documentary COVID WAR: The Pandemic Doctors Speak Out to not at least consider that outrageous proposition. "Former CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said former Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar wanted him to revise the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)-- the agency's roundup of key research on death and disease as well as its recommendations. Redfield said he was asked to change the report 'on more than one occasion.'"
The Hill reported that Trump, Pence and their regime prevented the doctors from speaking out on the dangers of the coronavirus pandemic, which caused hundreds of thousands of needless deaths.
The next pandemic-related initiative to fight about, the one the QAnon dummy was squawking about this morning, will be the vaccine passports. For very different reasons, navigating the efficacy of passport programs are proving problematic both on the left and on the right. The idea is allowing Americans to seamlessly prove they have been vaccinated so they can get into other countries, fly on airplanes or travel on cruise ships, use businesses, etc. Both the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services are coordinating the development of pandemic passports.
Today, Ron DeSantis (R-FL), arguably America's worst governor-- competition is very tight--said he "would issue an executive order banning 'vaccination passports' in Florida, which would prevent businesses from requiring proof of vaccination. At the same time, however, he signed a bill into law that limits businesses’ liability for COVID-19 claims."
Yesterday, Dean Diamond, Lena Sun and Isaac Stanley-Becker wrote that "The passports are expected to be free and available through applications for smartphones, which could display a scannable code similar to an airline boarding pass. Americans without smartphone access should be able to print out the passports, developers have said. Other countries are racing ahead with their own passport plans, with the European Union pledging to release digital certificates that would allow for summer travel. U.S. officials say they are grappling with an array of challenges, including data privacy and health-care equity. They want to make sure all Americans will be able to get credentials that prove they have been vaccinated, but also want to set up systems that are not easily hacked or passports that cannot be counterfeited, given that forgeries are already starting to appear."
Proof of vaccination “may be a critical driver for restoring baseline population health and promoting safe return to social, commercial, and leisure activities,” according to the March 2 slides prepared by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and obtained by The Post. But officials at the session-- attended by more than 150 staff from the health, defense, homeland security and other departments, and even far-flung agencies such as NASA-- warned of the “confusing array” of efforts underway to create credentials.
...Federal officials defended the pace of the project.
Taking time to get the credentialing project right “is very, very important because this has a high likelihood of being either built wrong, used wrong or a bureaucratic mess,” said one official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the effort. The official said some of the considerations include how to adjust for the spread of variants, how booster shots would be tracked and even questions about how long immunity lasts after getting a shot. There’s “a lot to think through,” the official said.
...There is evidence vaccine passports could motivate skeptical Americans to get shots. Several vaccine-hesitant participants at a recent focus group of Trump voters led by pollster Frank Luntz suggested their desire to see family, go on vacation and resume other aspects of daily life outpaced fear of the shots, particularly if travel companies and others moved to require proof of vaccination.
“We love to travel. We love to take cruises. I would get it to travel,” said Debbie of Georgia, who like others in the focus group was identified only by her first name.
Some attendees dissented and warned that requiring a credential would backfire.
“I would change my travel plans,” said a man identified as Patrick of Tennessee.
A focus group of vaccine-hesitant Trump voters spoke about their impressions of vaccine passports after listening to politicians and pollsters. (Courtesy of Frank Luntz and de Beaumont Foundation)
Public health and ethics experts agreed that the Biden administration needed to strike a careful balance: Encourage shots and support the private-sector initiatives but don’t put too much federal emphasis on the looming passports.
“If it became a government mandate, it would go down a dark road very quickly,” said Brian C. Castrucci, who leads the Bethesda, Md.-based de Beaumont Foundation, a public health group funding Luntz’s research into why some Americans are balking at the vaccine. “It becomes a credential. It becomes a ‘needing your papers,’ if you will. That could be dangerous-- and it could turn off people.”
“It has to be that everyone can get it, and it’s their choice, as it were,” said Ezekiel Emanuel, a University of Pennsylvania bioethics expert who co-authored a Journal of the American Medical Association article last year about the ethics of such certificates and advised Biden’s transition team on the coronavirus. “The one thing I am concerned is that some people won’t be able to get vaccinated for a variety of reasons.”
Emanuel added that the passports will be an element of global travel-- not just domestic policy. Key aviation and travel associations on March 22 called on the White House to finalize its vaccine credential plan by May, saying it was essential for the safe resumption of international travel.
Donald Rucker, who led the health IT office during the Trump administration, said myriad technical issues await the rollout of vaccine credentials, including how they are tracked, whether they are enforced and who pulls together the initial records of which Americans have gotten shots.
Rucker said keeping vaccine credentials could help officials better understand coronavirus vaccination, including possible long-term side effects, if the data is connected with the health information exchanges that states maintain.
“The tracking of vaccinations is not just simply for vaccine passports,” Rucker said. “The tracking of vaccinations is a broader issue of ‘we’re giving a novel biologic agent to the entire country,’ more or less.”