The quandary over vaccine passports resolves with this simple question: Would you rather be in a crowded restaurant or gym with people who’ve all been vaccinated against COVID-19, or those who refuse to take the vax?
Even people who believe wearing masks during a pandemic is an affront to their constitutional rights, and should be a “personal choice,” would have to be drowning in conspiracy Kool-Aid to prefer an ocean cruise with their own kind. No, the only controversy over the government mandating and regulating so-called vaccine passports comes from everyone’s justified uneasiness with the government harboring centralized health data on just about everyone. I’ve never been able to care about my personal secrets. When Facebook cranked up, I found it a great timesaver to whine to everyone I know at the same time about all the sordid messiness of my life.
So I’m OK with letting Big Gov have my birthday, social security, address and when I got my J&J blast. As long as there’s no public record of my belt size, which is almost 32-inches, for the record. Almost. It’s been a tough year.
But flashing my vax card for a seat at the bar next to my vaxxed pals after last-run at Loveland? Oh hellzyeah. Sharing air and space next to the guy who says, “no vax and microchip in my brain for me!”?
How cool would it be to get on a crowded airplane and not have to frown your way to a headache because the guy behind you looking like Ted Nugent started coughing just after the plane pushed back from the terminal?
It doesn’t have to be just a dream about the good old days of being packed like Peeps in a plane.
The science is moving past just guessing that vaccinated people are not only protected against infection, but they probably don’t infect others, even if they’re exposed themselves.
From the journal Nature last month: “The data is certainly intriguing and suggestive that vaccination may reduce the infectiousness of COVID-19 cases, even if it does not prevent infection altogether,” said Virginia Pitzer, an infectious-diseases modeller at Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Connecticut.”
That leads to the wisdom of allowing vaccinated people to behave in ways that would be too dangerous if mixed with vaccine-naughts.
Vaccine passports not only make common sense, they make good business sense.
Right now, and for the foreseeable future, if you have a restaurant, servers must still mask up, customers must wear masks in and out when wandering about, and tables must be six feet apart. Almost any restaurateur will tell you they’re losing about half of their seats to social distancing geometry.
If you owned a restaurant and had the ability to reopen, filled to the brim, just like the good old days, but you could only allow in vaccinated customers, which would you choose?
How about airplanes? If you ran an airline, or even worked for one, would you prefer sold out seats and happy maskless customers, buying food and booze on the plane? Or does it make sense to lose every third seat and profitable concessions?
If you think it would be a losing proposition that anti-vaxers — kept out of restaurants, taverns, swimming pools, movie theaters, concerts, museums, hair salons and sporting events — would be missed in those places, I would take that bet.
I can guarantee you that right this minute there are 76,125 people who would prove they’ve been vaccinated so they could pony up the outrageous price for a Broncos ticket in a packed Mile High Stadium — if the team commanded it.
The only people whining about vaccine passports are the same people who insisted that we should leave the business of containing the virus to businesses. They were all about letting businesses decide whether to require masks and distancing.
Well, State Rep. Patrick Neville, who has for more than a year cheered a laissez-faire-well approach to the pandemic. This is your dream come true. Let movie theaters in Castle Rock and Highlands Ranch decide whether to require you and others to prove your vaccination to see the show.
Today, The Sentinel is running news that the demand for vaccination across the nation is beginning to slow as the crowds of sensible Americans thin. We’re getting down to a place where herd immunity and ending the pandemic will depend on persuading millions of people in the U.S., and here in Colorado, to get the vax.
Few things would be more compelling to people who just don’t really care than to find out they can go only to the grocery store and home unless they get the shot. Or, they can hang at the bars and gyms where nobody is immune to an invitation to spend time on a respirator.
It’s the same logic we should use regarding all dangerous communicable diseases. Colorado, like most states, mandates childhood vaccinations against diseases that kill and maim children before being allowed in public schools.
Because of widespread disinformation and the debilitating lack of good sense and courage by too many elected officials in Colorado, endless and easy loopholes have put millions of Colorado kids at risk for Middle-Ages maladies like smallpox, chickenpox, rubella and even polio.
So don’t look to the state Legislature or Gov. Jared Polis to buck up and mandate vaccinations against a plague that has already killed 6,360 Colorado residents.
Instead, look at the bottom line of businesses. Vaccine passports are a profitable way to end the pandemic for everyone. It’s always been the case that money talks when common sense falls on deaf ears. Here’s a way to change that.
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