Mulhall column: Don’t leave home without it
Imagine a world in which there are two types of people: the “certified vaccinated” who, as the name implies, received a COVID vaccination, and those who didn’t.
The latter is a highly COVID-diverse class: People who have no reason to think they had COVID, people who don’t know whether they had it, and people who did have it as evidenced by hospitalization, positive test, or other medical diagnosis. What these people have in common is that they declined vaccination, or just have not gotten it yet.
The certified vaccinated class, on the other hand, is just as disease diverse, but they got the shot; more importantly, this class is growing like the murder rate in Portland.
With a COVID shot you get a card emblazoned with a CDC logo and a table with four records: one for the first shot, one for the second shot as necessary, and two more labeled “Other,” which may just be space fillers rather than something really needed.
Though smaller than a passport, the vaccination card won’t fit in a wallet, which seems to argue against any intended portability. Moreover, you fill it out, which means you can misspell “Pfizer,” “BioNTech,” “Moderna,” or “Johnson” and no one knows or cares.
The vaccination card is probably just an old-school reminder of when you need to show up for the second shot.
But don’t throw it away.
Last December, the New Hampshire Department of Justice issued guidelines on the use of the vaccine card as a “vaccination passport.”
In January, CBS 4 in Denver did a story on the “vaccination passport” as a form of proof necessary to gain access to pre-pandemic activities.
And, last Monday, Britain announced plans to test a series of measures including “coronavirus status certification” that allow people to safely return to mass gatherings at sports arenas, nightclubs, and concerts.
Can employers make a filled-out vaccination card a condition of work? Can schools require it to attend in-person classes? Can airlines require you to fork it over along with your ID before boarding a plane?
Holy ACLU amicus brief, batman.
At the core of the COVID vaccination effort is, of course, individual choice. You either get the vaccine or you don’t, but it’s your choice. In this way, vaccination dovetails nicely with the Bill of Rights, and, to the extent that it’s no one’s business but yours, HIPPA too.
Add to personal choice proof of vaccination as entrée to the freedoms of pre-COVID life and you may cross a line. But that may be exactly where we’re headed.
You really have to hand it to the vaccines. They have from everything I can tell reduced every racial, ideological and preferential divide imaginable into a single distinction: The vaccinated and the unvaccinated.
With a vaccination passport, dilemmas fall like dominoes. Sure, maybe it’s unfashionably binary, but think of the possibilities.
No driver’s license? No U.S. Passport? No state ID? No problem. Hit ‘em with your vaccination passport.
When every item in column A like every option in column B goes up in flames or disappears in divorce, don’t fret. Just whip out your vaccination passport.
When the game warden taps you on the shoulder and asks for your fishing license, don’t rifle through your wallet for three minutes before realizing you left it in the glove box. Hand him your vaccination passport.
Don’t think the passport’s promise as the new, preferred form of personal identification and permission end at the strictly legalistic demands of life, either.
Soon you may be able to bear your vaccination passport to take in a Red Rocks concert, eat out with friends, or even take that midnight train to Georgia.
If you do go to Georgia, however, don’t plan on using your vaccination passport to catch the 2021 All-Star Game in Atlanta this July. Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred, Jr. moved the game to Coors Field.
Why? Something to do with a Georgia voter ID law from what I hear.
When it comes to voting, not even a vaccination passport will do.
Mitch Mulhall is a husband, father and longtime Roaring Fork Valley resident. His column appears monthly in the Post Independent and at postindependent.com.
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