As we continue with the COVID saga, with this chapter starting a couple of weeks ago when the case counts started spiking, now spiking to 600 plus, it’s important to keep perspective of what is happening and what we are doing to address the myriad of things from it.
For instance, with the increase in cases, the call to either 1. make vaccinations mandatory for certain sections of Hawaii’s population (government employees, nurses, etc.); or 2. split the population into vaccinated and unvaccinated, and require certain treatment of each group, with the rules for one not for the other.
This conversation is not particularly new in this saga. In fact, during the first days of this, there was a suggestion of certifying someone who got COVID and recovered from it a certificate so that they could do things, like travel uninhibited.
That idea, and others, went by the wayside as we all waited for a vaccine.
With the vaccine in high distribution, the thinking was that high demand by so many would have us run across the “herd immunity” finish line in no time. After all, it is touted as “the solution” that would get us back to normal. But with a combination of misinformation, stubborn adherence to the idea that vaccines are somehow poisonous and just a hesitancy by the government to make the sale on getting it, we are now in a position where we are “almost there” with herd immunity while in the middle of another wave thanks to the Delta variant.
So, as the Delta variant continues to burn through the country, and the world, the idea of a vaccine passport has re-emerged, surprisingly, with serious consideration. And one can see why this is being touted – it’s a neat right-now solution to figuring out how to get back to “normal” (whatever that means).
But before we write to our Governor Ige and the Mayors demanding this, let us step back for a second and see how this could play out.
To provide that visual, I recalled a time (small kid time during “film” hour in elementary school) where we were shown a short from Dr. Seuss called “The Sneetches”. The premise of the story is as follows: There are two kinds of Sneetches: Star-Belly and Plain-Belly Sneetches. The only difference is the stars on some of their bellies. And yet they Star-Belly Sneetches think they are superior to Plain-Belly Sneetches. They don’t allow each other to get along. Along comes a man who sells them stars and star removals. This causes quite a mess; no one can remember who had stars and who didn’t. In the end, the Sneetches learn that they are all the same.
While this story concentrates on the culture of two entities, without government injection or rule, it shows the power of what happens when you “score” labels for people differently, thereby having a group of “have’s” and “have not’s”.
Now if one replaces “star” with “vaccine card”, and play the film, would we see the same result as the film? The likelihood is no because we wouldn’t stand for a society in which access is divided by who has a card or not. But considering (by this humble writer’s opinion) a proven lack of imagination by our government leadership during this whole saga, everything must be considered as a plan like this is rolled out.
So before anyone considers “labeling” vaccinated and unvaccinated in different categories and defines public access thereof, we do need to consider that this “simple” solution might cause way more problems down the line. And considering that our government entities have yet to prove that they think ahead when coming up with these plans, it is up to us as Mr. and Mrs. Public, to maybe do that thinking, and figure out how we will address the unintended consequences from decisions like this.
After all, COVID will become less of an issue as we vaccinate more, but the after-effects of societal decisions made now will be around long after this saga is declared over.
Think about it.