23 thoughts on “Do vaccination passports take away freedoms? …

  1. I am lukewarm in favor (not strongly in favor) of vaccination passports. I think people who continue to value going to clubs, pubs, drinking spots and sporting venues at a time of widespread social and medical crisis are shallow and selfish people. But of course if they wanted to do this without even vaccine protection, then that would be even worse.

    Part of the issue is that vaccine protection is going to turn out to be only partial in every sense, though still better than being unvaccinated. Fully vaccinated people can still catch, spread, get sick from and die from COVID-19 albeit at lesser rates, especially for the dying bit. Catching and spreading may not be reduced all that much: maybe only by a 50% reduction. If vaccinated people increase potential spreading behaviors by a factor of four over previous unvaccinated caution and lock-downs, spread could double.

    This whole idea of freedoms from vaccination could backfire. I am already noting that double vaccinated (and even single vaccinated) people think they are totally impervious to the virus and can do whatever they like. This could lead to a kind of vaccination paradox, where infections will increase after “vaccination freedom day” unless it is all handled very carefully. My confidence in the Australian government and public handling such things carefully is close to zero.

    The responsible person would get vaccinated AND continue to practice significant social distancing, not over-indulge in social and traveling behaviors and continue to use other NPI techniques like masks and hand-washing where appropriate. Where does the idea come from that we are only living if we are self-indulging every week? It comes from the indoctrination into capitalist consumerist values. The desire to open up for the sake of non-essential consumption is foolish and short-sighted given all the over-consumption problems we face ecologically. But the human race seems determined to destroy the biosphere and itself for football and beers or a caffè latte and a drive in the country.

    “O dark dark dark. They all go into the dark,
    The vacant interstellar spaces, the vacant into the vacant,
    The captains, merchant bankers, eminent men of letters,
    The generous patrons of art, the statesmen and the rulers,
    Distinguished civil servants, chairmen of many committees,
    Industrial lords and petty contractors, all go into the dark,
    And dark the Sun and Moon, and the Almanach de Gotha
    And the Stock Exchange Gazette, the Directory of Directors,
    And cold the sense and lost the motive of action.

    The whole earth is our hospital
    Endowed by the ruined millionaire,
    Wherein, if we do well, we shall
    Die of the absolute paternal care
    That will not leave us, but prevents us everywhere.

    The chill ascends from feet to knees,
    The fever sings in mental wires.
    If to be warmed, then I must freeze
    And quake in frigid purgatorial fires
    Of which the flame is roses, and the smoke is briars. – T.S. Eliot.

  2. For once, let me supply some actual facts from my own experience in Spain.
    My vaccination certificate is here : http://www.jameswimberley.es/Notes/Vacunacion.%20Certificado%20Digital%20COVID%20UE.%20James.pdf

    As you can see it’s a standard pdf one-page document, in blue not green. I can print it out, or download it to my smartphone and access it as a file, zooming in to the QR code for reading by a border official, train guard, airline employee, nightclub bouncer or restaurant waiter. If they are fussy (border officials) they can check the name against photo ID, so using my certificate or cutting-and-pasting my GR code would not work. To cheat the system at all reliably, you would have to hack the vaccination database, not for amateurs.

    Getting the certificate was straightforward. Spain opted to deliver vaccines entirely through the public healthcare system, an NHS-style scheme balkanised by regions. With my limited registration in the Andalucian health service in place, I have a personal space including the vaccination certificate.

    Where Lu and I did have difficulties was in getting the vaccination in the first place. The government promised free vaccination to all residents, but took some time to realize the problem of those relying on private health insurance – encouraged for foreigners by the government to save money, and sometimes a condition for granting residency. The options were extending vaccine delivery to private-sector clinics, GPs and pharmacies as in France, or granting temporary registration in the public system to everybody, which is what they settled on. To register we needed three trips to he nearest public health clinic: OK for us but a problem if we had lived in the countryside.

    The bureaucrats unfortunately did not stop with their well-designed vaccination certificate. Recently several European countries including Spain have added passenger locator forms for air travel. These are an uncoordinated, duplicative, and poorly implemented mess, with no clear purpose. Governments already have access to flight passenger lists for terrorism prevention.

  3. I favour the ‘passport’ as long as vaccination is as easy to to get as a drink, or a meal.

    For those who live in remote areas, or work (both paid and unpaid) long hours, access to a suitable health provider can be problematic. Should this the case, and I suspect it will, an increase in resources to decentralise healthcare will be required.

  4. It is a bit detestable, the way the authorities are using Coronavirus to bookmark in surreptitious expansion of an already heavy handed surveillance system in the current anxiety fueled environment.

    It is reasonable to ignore the claptrap about surveillance chips in vaccines and other US ideological nonsenses and instead just be vaccinated, but this I find disturbing:


  5. Why is somebody’s “right” to circulate socially more important than my wife’s right to get a vaccine safe for her and her pre-conditions, and/or be protected by sensible lock-downs and other measures, so she won’t face a significantly higher chance of dying from the wrong vaccine or COVID? I mean for example when a better vaccine could be made available for her at very low cost? That is the question I would like answered. People are excessively fixated on their freedoms to enact discretionary and non-essential activities for selfish fun reasons without regard for all the vulnerable people in our community who face far more serious battles: more serious than whether they can expand their vapid social lives and non-essential consumption or not. This makes me extremely angry. Of course it is natural that I get angry and emotive when I see a vulnerable loved one threatened. It is also in my opinion a fully justified and morally righteous anger.

    I am sick of the rank selfishness in our society which is promoted by neoliberal ideology. The vulnerable are being hung out to die and the “my petty rights are far more important than your essential human rights” mob and their enabling elites are behind all this. The whole thing is absolutely morally disgusting. They are mortally threatening me and mine for the most flimsy of justifications. I am totally disgusted with this current government and their supporters. They are massively out of line. Something serious and extensive needs to be done to de-power neoliberalism and their white-wing reactionary brown-shirt vanguard. Only fascists, psychopaths and sociopaths insist on facile bonus rights that mortally threaten others’ basic rights.

  6. I guess Ikonoclast must have been watching the interview with Stuart Robert this morning on Backsliders before switching to Alice in Wonderland’s funny daily presser in Sydney.

    Having watched the real face of lunatic neoliberalism this morning I find my self writing more in trepidation than relief at Gladdie’s attempt to suppress the real implication of new infection number of nearly 1500 people in a day.

  7. The case for domestic vaccination passports is undermined by the combination of
    – delta being more infectious (and more virulent for unvaccinated)
    – waning vaccine efficacy against infection over time since second injection
    – fraud
    – difficulty in monitoring (cf masks – which are visible)
    – new variants with greater vaccine escape including those with far far greater vaccine escape and or transmissibility and or virulence.

    However the greatest harm may already have been caused by the discounting of the need to implement the core non pharmaceutical interventions of border control and locking down hard and early (or for NSW a hard lockdown as early as possible, ie now).

  8. Stockingrate, we are on the same page. That was why I said I was “lukewarm in favor (not strongly in favor) of vaccination passports”. I can see that some people need some carrots to get vaccinated. However, vaccine protection is only going to be a glass-half-full thing as you illustrate. Without other measures, the pandemic of the unvaccinated is going to be disastrous and not just for the unvaccinated. Some of the vaccinated will die too or know someone close, family or friend, vaccinated or unvaccinated, who dies. Then there will also be the immense health burden of long covid. Health workers themselves will suffer disproportionately too from illness and even deaths.

    The unvaccinated are not all anti-vaxxers. The vaccine-hesitant include people who are confused, anxious or even rightly concerned about their medical preconditions.There are people with medical pre-conditions and even in the middle of major operation / treatment sequences which essentially prevent them from safely getting a vaccine for sometimes indefinite periods. There are remote and disadvantaged people who have still have not been given a fair chance to get a vaccine or enough English language information to properly understand what is going on. All of these people are going to be thrown under the bus in the haste to open up.

    We had a vaccine strollout, followed by an induced vaccination panic, to be followed by a (threatened) opening up stampede reminiscent of a Black Friday shopping charge. The public are being primed for that sort of madness, it seems to me. The vaccine strollout was all laid back until the NSW outbreak was going to make Gladys and Scotty look bad. Suddenly, all stops were pulled out. The corporate Open-Up open letter was timed into this as well. Machiavelli would be sitting back in awe, looking at Gladys, Scotty and co.

    I cannot see how Australia can avoid a COVID disaster. If we do I will be astonished. Gladys and Scotty clearly believe they can pull this off and make it all work, or by big lies convince the people they made it work. Do they know something I don’t? Of are they so deep into their own fake facts that they believe themselves? I honestly don’t know anymore.

  9. I don’t think it is just lies and fantasies.

    Dig deeper and glimpse the mentality obscured by the banalities. It is the the Picture of Dorian Gray.
    It craves control like a drug and surreptitiously enjoys the fiat abuse of power like a four year old with a toy, or its kid sibling.

    Is there a substantial issue yet, where in preference to reasoned discourse following accurate research and application of reasoning, they have not adopted the “Nacht und Nebel” approach of coercion and wilful obscuring of fact that allows for the gratifications of untrammelled power wielded through something approaching fiat??

  10. Wjatbb be is the difference between compulsory taxation and compulsory vaccination? Both restrict freedom and cow with positive and negative externalities
    Amd btw I am in favour of compulsory vaccinations

  11. Geof Miell. i appreciate your concern for my privacy, but in this case I willingly give up the limited data on my vaccination certificate in the interests of more informed debate.

    On a recent five-day trip to Lille to visit family, my certificate was scanned by: Malaga airport sscurity. Easyjet gate staff; Lille airport border officials; about three restaurants and three shops in Lille; SNCF staff at Lille railway station; Charles de Gaulle airport security staff; Easyjet again, Malaga airport security again. To all intents and purposes, my birthday is now in the public domain.

    The BioNTech batch number is no use to anybody. My address, phone number, email and Spanish health and residency numbers are not on the certificate. They are in the database of the Servicio Andaluz de Salud, but the equivalent would be true anywhere. The certificate does not IMHO add significantly to the data theft risk. https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/policies/coronavirus/eu-digital-covid-certificate/

  12. BTW. the SAS look serious about data protection. I can edit the contact information in my personal space on ClicSalud – but only if I log in using a secure digital ID issued by the Spanish Royal Mint of all people. To get that I had to go in person to the town hall before the Mint emailed me the key.

  13. James Wimberley,

    This is a “home” question. How safe does double vaccination make you feel? I admit while it would make me feel somewhat safer, it would not make me feel safe enough to travel internationally ever again. But then Costa Del Sol (I assume) to Lille might feel to you like Brisbane to Sydney. But even double vaccinated I would not contemplate traveling to Sydney in the next five years even if Queensland and N.S.W. were open. I believe COVID-19 is far from done and the vaccines will fail sooner or later for many, many people. Vaccine escape, immunity escape and immunity waning are all showing signs of developing into big problems very soon.

    Maybe one could travel a bit at peak estimated protection after double vax or booster. Other than that I would be rather cautious. This still has years to play out and matters could get much worse yet, IMHO.

  14. Would legal liability apply? If someone refuses vaccination and goes on to become a disease vector, could they be held liable, perhaps by health insurance companies seeking to avoid costs that are arguably not rightly their own? Would that liability extend to businesses that neglect to vet customers before allowing entry?

    I suspect there will be a duty of care and failure to require proof of vaccination could be considered negligence.

  15. Unfortunately, I never had to use mine so far. German authorities are rather hesitant to require them and even when they do, it is more often than not the recent quick test or vaccination one. Vaccinations offer a lot more protection for others than quick tests. Getting the thing was no problem. Maybe even a bit too little of a problem, since getting the qr code with a fake version of the old handwritten yellow vaccination passport seems easy (this one is allowed for verification instead of the qr code version here anyway).

  16. Australia is screwed. It is now going to have a major COVID-19 wave disaster and maybe more than one wave. The latest figures at this point from Victoria (today) and NSW (yesterday) are disastrous and indicate rapid, uncontrollable, exponential spread. This spread is running well ahead of the vaccination program, which will always be “leaky” anyway because of the leaky vaccines.

    This has occurred, as we know, because the neolberal governing elites;

    (1) refused to build quarantine stations;
    (2) refused to buy adequate vaccines early enough (penny-pinching);
    (3) refused to lock down early and hard enough; and
    (4) finally gave up on suppression, real or pretended.

    A significant portion of the population has remained non-compliant and compliance with lock-downs, quarantining and other measures has not been adequately enforced by the authorities. The red-neck, reactionary and selfishly individualistic portions of the population have grown too great in size and activity and too enabled by reactionary populist encouragement to be adequately educated and socialized (at short notice) or to be adequately guided or controlled to demonstrate sufficient community-based concern for others. This is all part of the disintegration of late stage neoliberal capitalism, as a social system, into entitled anarchy, lacking community feeling and community cooperation. A society which continues on this trajectory faces collapse at all levels and in all ways, that is to say it faces a rapid or protracted collapse without a radical change in its values and direction.

    The neolberal governing elites have adopted a “die with covid” opening-up strategy at the behest of big and (some) small business and at the expense (measured in morbidity and deaths) of the vulnerable people groups overall and of specific worker groups, especially those who are medical, parmedical or essential in many other ways. This is mass murder with deliberate aforethought and intent. People are slated to die to support the income balance sheets of big and (some) small businesses. This is how capitalism, especially late stage, neoliberal capitalism, works. Nothing is more important than the income of the rich elites and it must be kept flowing at all other costs, human, ecological and climatalogical,

    The reputable scientific modellers who are not “captured” (in the sense of funding and careerist capture) by neoliberalism, are finding across the board that the most likely trajectory of the NSW outbreak alone is to reach 5,000 cases a day (plus or minus about 2,000 cases a day) by late October to very early November. This is a quite different picture to the big lies being told by Gladys Berejiklian in particular. One of her big lies has been that the pandemic will peak in “two weeks”. This is wishful thinking and IIRC she has been saying this for two weeks already without running down the count.

    It is not impossible that the NSW outbreak daily cases count could peak in two weeks from right now if one finally and honestly began the countdown from this point. However, on the trajectory and modelling (by “uncaptured” modellers) it looks highly unlikely to peak so soon. And the numbers look likely to go to a peak where the hospital and care system, quite frankly, will be completely overwhelmed. “Ramping” is already close to completely out of control, or just complete, at several NSW hospitals. NSW’s hospital system is already at breaking point. This wave’s case loads have (a) not peaked in all likelihood and (b) even if peaked have not flowed through to the intensive care unit and ventilator unit peaks which can take up to about another two weeks to occur.

    On every realistic measure and every realistic projection, outright disaster approaches.

    On a broader and perhaps slightly speculative front, we can theorize as to what late stage neoliberal capitalism is really “up to”. That is a further post where I would first have to introduce the idea of “Veblenian sabotage” and work from there. It would also go further than the theory that workers must die for capitalism (from overwork through to inadequate work health and safety measures) and that third world people, via colonialism and imperialism, must die for capitalism, for both capitalists and the labor aristocracy in the first world. It would go into the theory that the general public and consumers of the first world themselves must die for capitalism, meaning die for capital accumulation for the rich. This means all of dying from pollution and climate change but also now dying from disease pandemics where the costs (to capital accumulation) of control are avoided and the real costs are externalized from capital onto the people and consumer public themselves as excess morbidity and death.

  17. If people had watched tonight’s Media Watch and Chris Kenny, they would realise that Ikon and other folk in the know are far closer seeing it as it is than many of the Great Unwashed may believe.

    I can’t conjure Orwell too often and Godwin’s Law prevent me going further as to the rest, but like a bell in a warehouse primed to be set off on detecting intruders, I remain alarmed, very alarmed..

  18. I can’t conjure Orwell too often …

    That’s not strictly true. It is possible to conjure Orwell too often. (1) Orwell being wrong is something that happened more than once and (2) people misunderstanding what Orwell meant is also something that has happened more than once.

    … Godwin’s Law prevent me going further as to the rest

    This also is not strictly true. Godwin’s Law doesn’t prevent you from doing anything. If you choose not to express your meaning plainly, you cannot avoid the possibility that people will conclude that you are not expressing your plain meaning for fear it would appear implausible if you did.

  19. Sorry, MW and Chris Kenny.
    You obviously didn’t watch or you would not be rooting around for diversions and by the myopia evidenced would not have grasped the significance anyway.

  20. Sorry, MW and Chris Kenny.
    You obviously didn’t watch …

    No, I didn’t. I don’t have a television. So what?

    … rooting around for diversions …

    I quoted your own exact words. That you choose not to attempt a substantive defence of your own statements means that you are the one who is trying to change the subject, which only tends to lend support to the previously mentioned conclusion (that you are not expressing your plain meaning for fear it would appear implausible if you did).

    … by the myopia evidenced …

    As it happens, I have in fact been nearsighted most of my life, but abuse of me, even if it happens to be accurate, does nothing to make your own position more plausible.

  21. J-D,

    Is it that you don’t understand the difference between metaphorical and literal language or is it that you just like trolling people? Instead of showing interest in the substantive points of discussions (whether or not people use metaphorical or metonymic language to make their points) you simply fixate on literalist nitpicking.

    I agree with Paul Walter that you are “rooting around for diversions”. Perhaps you think this is funny and clever. It looks like plain old trolling to me. It’s off topic as well.

    Maybe some cartoons will help you understand.

  22. Sandpity.
    I would love to have J-D go over a paper I wrote befote submission. Nobody does logic and pedantry better.

    But as for example the word sightation maybe confusing, then you need a scapel for parsing words and concepts so as NOT to get caught up in pedantry and mixed meanings, J-D is that person. ymmv.

    I read your comments J-D.

    Now off to the sadpit-y.

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