Before You Leave Home

Comments by tfjp on the last post are worthy of discussion. Rather than a simple reply, the vaccine-proof controversy needs more deliberation. A mobile proof of immunity is often if somewhat inaccurately, referred to as a vaccine passport. The idea has stirred up a lot of resistance across the nation. Indeed, the concept of a passport conjures up the idea of all sorts of fears of government interference and knowledge of your personal information. I share these concerns. Nowhere in the post”Getting Out Of Jail,” did I advocate for the U.S. government to issue a single form of immunity proof and make it mandatory to show it to participate in life. The hope was to voluntarily get people together and agree on a single standard of proof.

The point is made we already have the proof of vaccination. Those little white paper CDC cards we received when we got our shots show it to anybody needing to know. The cards are flimsy but no different from Social Security or Medicare Cards. To preserve them, take the card to Staples or OfficeMax for free laminating. Problem solved.

We discussed what day to take our cards for laminating as we did with our Medicare cards, but I got a news alert; Phizer says we will likely need a booster shot. No problem, we have empty lines on our cards. Just add the booster info. Not possible on a laminated card. Hoping a CDC that designed these flimsy cards will develop a system of issuing new cards showing your vaccine history to replace your now useless card is truly an act of faith. Better not to mess with your card.

Perhaps a real-life example of travel in the Covid Era will illustrate the problems. For the last two years, we’ve had cruises to Iceland canceled because of the Pandemic. We noticed recently, Iceland is open for visiting for those with proof of Covid Immunity. At present, they will accept our CDC cards. Sounds great. Now we have to get there from Phoenix. The rule is to get on a plane; you need a negative Covid test. Checking with American Airlines, they recommended a quick turnaround $119 test. Be sure to start the process at least five days before the flight. When you get to the airport, you’ll wait in line to check test info. 

The lines could be shorter or avoided if we emulated TSA Pre-Check for those with proof of immunity. American suggests the Verifly App. to upload your test info. It could help with American Airlines and some other Airlines, but at present vaccine, proof doesn’t work getting you on a plane. At the moment, it only shows Covid Test results. However, if rules are changed to accept evidence of immunity along with e of test results, the app can do it. After all, why do the immune need a covid test?

Please think of how much easier it would be to have proof of immunity on a universally recognized App. A dedicated line where you scan the Q.R. code, and that’s it. Just as the TSA speeds up flying for everyone by waving the pre-checked through the checkpoint, one group moving fast leaves more resources available to process the others. You have to apply and give information for it, but you have a choice. The same type of choice should be available for the immune. It would be a boon to everyone.

Pausing your trip, either coming or going to spend time in the Big Apple or visit friends or relatives, is challenging. Remember, there are time limits on the acceptance of your Covid test. For instance, you must have been tested within 72 hours to return to the U.S. I referred to the Odessey of a Doctor and his wife trying to fly from Phoenix to his free clinic in Afganistan. They missed the Covid test validity window by an hour and forty minutes and prevented from boarding their flight.

If you do opt for a New York City stopover to partake in its offerings, such as ballgame or an event at Madison Square Garden, a New York State-issued Excelsior Passport will get you in. Of course, you’ll have to figure out what they will accept if you don’t have one.

If you conform to the testing requirements and arrive in Iceland, they will accept your CDC vaccine card at present. However, there is reason to believe this might not last. The problem is hows easy it is to counterfeit the CDC cards. Reluctance to accept the cards as proof of immunity is rising with the number of forgeries. You might make plans only to find Iceland needs better evidence. 

If a simple vacation trip has these complications and worries, consider the plight of people whose employment requires travel. Even in this era of Zoom, people still have to travel. Given the present nightmare scenarios, they want a simple, voluntary, and widely accepted proof of immunity. There is always stress getting from A to B. I didn’t have to apply for the Global Entry card. Getting one is akin to a police interrogation. Yet, going to a machine, putting in my passport, answering a few questions, and letting it read my fingerprints takes only a few minutes. Standing in a long customs line after an International trip, especially if you have a connecting flight, isn’t fun. My choice is to avoid it. I want the same option with proof of immunity.

The paradox in all this opposition to widely useable immunity proof is people will be getting it from a government anyway. As French President Emmanuel Macron explained on CBS, the European Union (E.U.) will require and provide documentation of immunity. Not to worry, Americans will be able to apply online when it becomes available. If it’s good in the E.U., you can bet Airlines and others will follow. You’ll just be giving your information to a foreign government. The E.U. system or similar will be used here and abroad whether we like it or not. As you scan your E.U. originated vaccine pass at the rock concert, tell us about your objections again.

You might not care to travel, but don’t stop others from having a choice that makes their life easier. States banning anyone from issuing or using proof of immunity unfairly limits my options. These bans are government impinging on my freedom.

We’re still on track for herd Immunity by at least the end of May, but pausing the J & J vaccine with the attendant growing reluctance to get vaccinated may yet delay it. The present administration is at risk of losing the Warp Speed momentum. What were they thinking? Lives are at stake.

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