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  • Writer's pictureDean Dwyer

COVID passports

By now it has become obvious that the power handed to corporations and politicians as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are not going to be handed back. Further evidence of this may be found in Pfizer’s recent statement concerning the future of COVID-19 – or more to the point, the future profitability of COVID-19.

Pfizer’s CFO Frank D’Amelio recently raised eyebrows by declaring that the current price of $39 for the two-shot regimen will not remain at that price once the emergency is over. This statement should tell us two things. Firstly, the pandemic will not be considered over once everybody is vaccinated. Pfizer is pivoting from treating this as a one-time pandemic to a seasonal endemic illness, requiring annual booster shots. Secondly, public policy around the pandemic is being driven by financial interests, rather than health interests. D’Amelio did not give his speech at a health conference – it was delivered at an investor conference hosted by Barclays. Investors want guarantees around their investment and what better place to put their money than in a company that can guarantee the threat of COVID-19 will never leave.

It is also becoming clear that pressure is mounting for governments to adopt some form of COVID-19 health status certificate that would support the desires of people to freely move about once again. The concept of a health passport is not something completely new. Today’s best-known health passport is the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis, created by the World Health Organisation. This Certificate (known as a Yellow Card) confirms that the holder has been vaccinated against cholera, plague and typhoid, amongst other things.

Among newly proposed COVID-19 passport schemes are the World Health Organisation’s Smart Vaccination Certificate, Israel’s “green passport”, the European Union’s proposed Digital Green Pass and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s “My COVID Pass”. But although many nations might see this as a logical step in fully opening their economies, in reality it is going to create a medical apartheid.

In Israel, for instance, they have crated “Operation Back to Life” which has, as its primary goal, the vaccination of all citizens over the age of 16. In fact, as reported by the Jewish Journal, “By being the first country in the world to vaccinate its entire population with the novel vaccine, Israel will serve as the world’s critical experimental subject.” Upon receiving the vaccine, each citizen will be issued a “green pass” which allows them to once again visit the gym, movie theatre, restaurant, etc. Citizens who refuse to receive the jab will not be permitted to do these things, which sounds awfully similar to something else coming along in the near future.

Israel activist Ilana Rachel Daniel says, “It’s very intense over here in Israel. I don’t know how much you see. It’s terrible. It’s a very, very, very frightening situation. They’re making this green passport where half the population cannot get into theatres or malls or all sorts of things unless you have taken the vaccination. They are creating a medical apartheid.”

As for school students, those who were partially through a school term that was put on hold due to the pandemic will also need to be vaccinated in order to finish and take their exams. Additionally, for colleges and universities, only students who are vaccinated will be permitted to attend in-person classes. This means that only the vaccinated are entitled to receive a higher education in Israel right now.

So while the vaccine is not mandatory in Israel, the division is real and is growing by the day.

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