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By Joe Badalamenti

In the past year and a half, the world experienced two tragedies: the COVID-19 pandemic, and the lockdown crisis which surrounded it. After a year of intense research, the development of a COVID vaccine had reached the stage of distribution to the public. Given the effectiveness of the vaccines, many were hopeful that the availability of the vaccines would put an end to these devastating regulations. Unfortunately, certain regulations were not only kept in place, but the arrival of the vaccines led to the creation of a new measure: the vaccine passport. With many businesses and institutions (including Binghamton University) set to require vaccines in the near future, the vaccine passport system, as mandated by New York City, Los Angeles, and other municipalities, only serves to usher in a new system of discrimination.

In the case of Binghamton University, the vaccine requirements are as follows[1]: If an unvaccinated student wishes to study on campus they must provide either medical or religious reasons as to why they can not receive the vaccine. If the exemption is approved, then the student may live on campus. Though while on campus, the student must follow the same COVID  measures present in the last two semesters. (Surveillance testing, social distancing, etc). If the student is not vaccinated or approved for an exemption, the University has the right to move students to different housing units, prevent unvaccinated students from using certain campus facilities, and even unregister unvaccinated students from classes if they remain unvaccinated. Unvaccinated students are also prohibited from participating in certain on campus organizations such as club sports. While those with exemptions are permitted to live on campus, the guidelines make little to no accommodation for these students. These guidelines serve to place unvaccinated students back to the dark age of 2020 and spring 2021, continuing the doctrine of COVID hysteria long past its expiration date. 

New York City has a similar system in place, though more unforgiving[2]. The NYC health website refers to their program as the “key to NYC.” The city has mandated that residents 12 and older receive the vaccine to participate in indoor activities including dining, gyms, entertainment, and more. Employees must likewise be vaccinated. While the city lists activities that take a short amount of time (less than 10 minutes) as an exception, there are no other exceptions listed on the official website. While the system was put in place on August 17, enforcement of the system will not occur until September 13th.

A question arises with the implementation of these policies: Do these requirements constitute a system of discrimination? This of course depends on the leniency of each system. The system in Binghamton University for example is less severe than the “key to NYC.”  Despite ironically including a notice of their commitment against discrimination in their website, the “key to NYC” makes little to no exemptions for those who decide not to take the vaccine. Such structures may also lead to discrimination against children who are ineligible to receive the vaccine. Such systems will lead to a much wider divide between the vaccinated and unvaccinated populations.

To make sense of this policy, we must consider the effects of vaccination. There is a case for vaccine passports if the said vaccine causes a reduction in the spread of COVID. However, the primary effect of vaccines is not to reduce the spread of COVID, but to improve immunity so as to reduce the severity of a given COVID case. While effective at reducing symptoms, immunity gained from contracting the virus itself is shown to be much more robust at developing immunity against COVID than the vaccine[3]. Meaning that exceptions could logically be made for those who possess antibodies against COVID. There are other ways to protect yourself against COVID and other diseases such as the flu. If you live a healthy lifestyle: exercise, have a healthy diet, don’t excessively drink or smoke, and get good amounts of sleep, you will have a stronger immune system which can lessen the severity and susceptibility to diseases such as COVID. Although there are other inherent risk factors such as age and preexisting conditions, such strategies are generally helpful. Despite these options, the public health establishment seems content with pushing the vaccine as much as possible up to the point of encouraging booster shots, thus vaccine passports have become enforced in NYC and other locations. Vaccines should be considered a personal choice as you own your body, not NYC or any other organization.

If there is little scientific basis for these policies, then why have they become so widespread? Most policy guidelines mention the dreaded “Delta variant” as the reason for the return to previous COVID regulations. The problem with this reasoning is that while more contagious than the original variant, the “Delta variant” is at most equivalent to the original strain. So unless a super scary Sigma variant develops, talk about the danger of the “Delta variant” is overblown in light of facts. Moreover, not only have many acquired natural immunity from the virus, but vaccine availability has reached the point where anyone who desires the vaccine can receive one. So if the vaccine passport system doesn’t protect anyone any more than either natural or vaccinated immunity, why enact such a policy? One possible explanation is that public health organizations such as the United States CDC and WHO have become corrupted in order to promote the agendas of the “experts” who control them. This corruption has manifested into a desire for obedience from the public in order to receive praise for their wisdom once the COVID cases inevitably come down. In light of the lack of persuasive arguments as well as the dramatic polarization that has occurred over the past decade, such speculation is grounded in reality.

In their attempt to transition out of the era of lockdowns, the New York regulations, unfortunately, continue the spread of disproven mandates. In an ideal world, the average person would choose to get vaccinated not because of state pressure, but because the benefits of immunization outweigh the risks from the vaccine. An example of this system in action would be the August 5th Kanye West “Donda” listening party, in which the stadium offered the vaccine to attendees[4]. Such a system in which vaccines are not mandated, but encouraged is much more ethically sound. Although, given the drive to enact these policies, ethics were unfortunately given up as a consideration.


  2. COVID-19: Vaccine Facts – NYC Health

Thumbnail Credit: U.S. Secretary of Defense, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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