The COVID-19 passport is the new ticket to normalcy

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Jai Dhillon, Staff Writer

Widespread COVID-19 vaccination in recent weeks is allowing many stores and venues to reopen.  However, some  will be requiring a “passport,” or a confirmation code, saying that you have either had the vaccine and/or you have tested negative.  Big companies, such as IBM, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, and many other electronic giants have started this policy.  

“I think the COVID passport can be good and bad.  Some are skeptical about getting the vaccine since it is the first of its kind: the mRNA vaccine.  They have every right to be wary about this new kind of vaccine. These people shouldnt be restricted from going to everyday places because of their beliefs.  However, it can be good in some areas where there cannot be social distancing, such as a fully packed sports event,” said freshman Mehar Walia. 

While the idea of a COVID-19 passport is appealing to many, it is not ideal for some.  Some people have trypanophobia, a severe fear of needles, and are reluctant to get vaccinated.  Requiring a vaccine passport would result in them not being able to attend sporting events or concerts in the near future.

 Another possible issue is the use of counterfeit passports.  People can create fake copies to use without getting a vaccine and/or tested.  This would defeat the purpose of the passport.  

While there are a few risks to the passport, it could be quite useful.  Requiring a COVID-19 passport would help to ensure that someone attending a particular event has the virus, thereby preventing its spread.

“I think COVID-19 passports are beneficial.  They help other people know about your vaccine status and whether you have been tested negative for the virus.  Having these certificates also allows you to get into stadiums and even other countries that are looking to reopen safely.  I think it is great because it makes people around you feel safe, as they know that you have gotten vaccinated and/or tested negative,” said freshman Pariksith Hebbar.  

The COVID-19 passport is also accessible and straight-forward.  The easiest way is to make a QR code with your information saying when you got tested, the date and time, and if you got vaccinated.  Then the facility will scan the QR code and allow you in.  Although this seems simple and efficient, some people are worried about sharing their personal information with companies.

“I think the COVID-19 passport sounds like a good idea, but it has some flaws.  They can easily be forged and stolen.  The credentials to get the passport differ by state so it could be harder for some people to get than others.  Since the passports are not federally controlled, people may worry about giving their information to big companies,” said freshman Zayd Pattie.    

It will take time until COVID-19 passports are widespread, but using them seems to be beneficial.  In order to resume large events, safety precautions must be in place, and this is one simple solution to help limit the spread of the virus.