European Commission president plans to introduce vaccine passports

Several other countries, also within the European Union, have already launched their own vaccine passport programs.
Tue Mar 2, 2021 - 3:49 pm EST
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BRUSSELS, Belgium, March 2, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – President of the European Commission (E.C.) Ursula von der Leyen yesterday announced via Twitter plans to introduce legislation which would bring about a “Digital Green Pass” for residents within the European Union to allow ease of travel.

The pass is intended to “facilitate Europeans lives” by providing “[p]roof that a person has been vaccinated,” “[r]esults of tests for those who couldn’t get a vaccine yet,” and “[i]nfo on COVID19 recovery,” all while allegedly respecting “data protection, security & privacy.”

The proposal was met with mixed reviews by the 27 member states of the E.U., some of which, such as Greece, backed the plan, having already instituted their own “vaccine passport” program at the national level. Others, however, noted the potential for discriminations to emerge as a result of separating people at airports, for instance, based on the documentation.

The Greeks recently introduced COVID-19 vaccination certificates in the hope that it would facilitate tourism, a sector on which the country’s economy relies heavily. Minister of Digital Governance Kyriakos Pierrakakis said that the vaccine passports will work as a sort of “fast lane inside the airports … to have the opportunity to go to a different lane from those who haven’t been vaccinated,” but that without the E.U. adopting the infrastructure more broadly, the system will be “absurd.”

Von der Leyen said the digital green pass, should it be instituted, will be important to freedom of movement within the E.U. by “gradually” allowing citizens “to move safely in the European Union or abroad — for work or tourism.” She did not confirm whether such movement would or would not be possible without certification.

At the end of January, the U.K. (which is no longer part of the E.U.) announced that it is forging ahead with its own vaccine passport plan, funding the trial of eight passport schemes at a cost of £450,000 in government grants for the project.

Before the January announcement the government had relayed a series of mixed messages, at times committing to having “no plans to introduce so-called vaccine passporting,” and at other times suggesting there was no definitive rejection of the idea at government level, members of which were “looking at the technology.”

In mid-February, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab hinted that, in addition to cross-border travel allowances, vaccine passports could be used domestically, as a barrier to entry even in supermarkets and pubs. Health Secretary Matthew Hancock subsequently shied away from suggesting they would be used domestically, but added his voice to Prime Minister Boris Johnson in describing a future where vaccine passports would become a standard requirement for international travel.

Spain, which is an E.U. member state, has revealed that it will also consider a vaccine passport infrastructure to accept vaccinated tourists from outside the E.U., with or without the E.C.’s permission. If agreements about Europe-wide travel “cannot be reached we will be thinking of other solutions like corridors, green corridors with third countries that can help us to restart tourism flows,” Spanish Tourism Secretary Fernando Valdés told Bloomberg.

U.S. President Joe Biden, as well, signed an executive order in January directing the government to evaluate the “feasibility” of vaccine passports.

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The growing push for vaccine passports is premised, among other things, on vaccines halting the transmission of COVID-19, thereby eliminating the ostensible need for governments to continue quarantining individuals, at great personal expense, arriving from outside their respective countries before granting entry.

America’s Frontline Doctors (AFLD), a group of physicians dedicated to providing Americans with science-backed facts on COVID-19 and protecting medicine from political overreach, released a white paper detailing the findings of an investigation into experimental COVID vaccines. The doctors discovered that there is no data on whether or not these experimental agents are actually capable of stopping the transmission of the virus. They affirmed that the “scientists are very upfront about the fact that they don’t know if the vaccine even stops the spread of the virus!”

The group cited a Medscape article that quotes a former FDA official who said, “We don’t know if people can become infected and thus also transmit even with vaccination.” For this reason, “people can expect to still be wearing masks, still be asked to follow non-pharmaceutical public health measures that we've all come to know so well.”

Despite this crucial pillar of vaccine passporting having been undermined, governments continue to fund and develop systems for this purpose. However, resistance to such programs has substantial support.

In Britain, upwards of 245,000 people have signed a petition against the government’s plans to introduce vaccine passports in the month it has been active. The government pledges to respond to all petitions that garner over 10,000 signatures and considers all petitions that reach 100,000 signatures for debate in parliament.

The petition reads:

We want the Government to commit to not rolling out any e-vaccination status/immunity passport to the British public. Such passports could be used to restrict the rights of people who have refused a Covid-19 vaccine, which would be unacceptable …

The Government must be completely clear to the public about the use of vaccine passports & their intentions, which will undoubtedly affect societal cohesion & effect [sic] the economic recovery of Great Britain this year & into 2022.

As more than enough people have signed the petition, parliament is forced to debate the issue in the coming weeks. Whether this will affect any change remains to be seen.

  covid-19, eu, european union, ursula von der leyen, vaccine passport

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