The short term and long term don’t always get along. Neither do the individual and the community.
We are creating vaccine passports to show who has had the COVID jabs and who has not. Some argue it is similar to the proof of having had the yellow fever vaccination to get into various countries. But the vaccine passports are slightly different as they are not only for international travel.
The vaccine passports can help societies ‘open up’ again, but this only works if the vaccines are freely available and equally available. And if the digital vaccine passports work on any type of phone, not just a smartphone with a data connection. However, we know that equality and equity and justice/liberation are very different things (see image above). We also know that reality is itself unjust and unequal. Therefore, we saying vaccines are freely available to all forgets the context in which we operate. Free as long as you can travel to a clinic in an urban setting. This requires means of transport or money to hire transport. It also requires the physical ability to travel. And so on.
Then we have companies and shops declaring it a requirement for employees to be vaccinated. And while there is some understandable logic to this when dealing with a communicable disease, where does this take in the long term. Where is the line when it is acceptable to discriminate based on health issues (e.g. COVID vaccine) and when is it not acceptable (e.g. HIV, TB, malaria)?
So many of these conversations lead us back to governance and leadership. But not just governance and leadership in the here and now, but also in the future. Rushing these decisions through rarely is a good idea, thoughtful public debate which is captured is a better way to go.
The choice is up to us.
Photo from Equality and Equity