Passport to post-pandemia

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 63 , No. 8 , October 2021 , Pages 318,320 Editorials COVID-19

(2 August 2021)

At this moment in time, it feels like we are over the worst of it. I say that with more than a modicum of caution. It feels that way, at least, as we enjoy the brief but beautiful summer that we are experiencing in BC this year. (You will be reading this as the rain and wind howl at your window, with the summer of 2021 in your proverbial rearview mirror.) This summer felt better to me than the one we had last year. It wasn’t only the blue skies and warm temperatures, or the absence of rain (a side note: emigrating to Canada from a warmer climate precludes me from ever complaining about the heat here). It wasn’t only my recently found insouciance (another side note: I recently discovered that word; you francophones will know that it means free from worry). It isn’t only thanks to having some special people in my life. I believe that many of us are starting to feel that we have more freedom.

Following our Annus (and a half) horribilis, we are carefully making social contact with one another again and starting to do the things that we used to take for granted. This weekend, my family, friends, and I attended a beautiful wedding, which is something I have not done in a long time. My partner and I have booked tickets to see a Broadway show toward the middle of next year. I am looking forward to seeing my brother and his wife, both of whom are double vaccinated, who are visiting this month from outside of Canada.

Therein lies the crux of the issue. Double vaccination. It would be preferable for everyone on the planet to be double vaccinated sooner rather than later. I ask all my patients about their vaccination status and debate the issue patiently with those who have chosen to remain unvaccinated. I accept that vaccination remains a choice but am nevertheless frustrated, like the rest of you, that some people are choosing to remain unvaccinated. We have all heard the made-up fearmongering myths that they choose to believe. Eye roll, please. While working at a vaccine clinic recently, I reassured some people, tongue in cheek, that the vaccine they were receiving did not in fact have microchips in it.

I firmly believe that all governments need to agree on the concept of vaccine passports. It would be preferable for people who wish to travel across provincial and national borders to be required to show proof of their double vaccination status. The only exception to that would be children who are too young to be vaccinated, and the very few people who have a valid medical reason to remain unvaccinated. The vaccine passports need to be secure in order to prevent fraud, and private to prevent tracking. I have heard the argument from the privacy camp, who believe that a vaccine passport is an invasion of their privacy. I assume those same people use cellphones, which already track everything about them. The cellphone companies, Internet providers, and smartphone app providers already know a lot about us. Although we don’t like it, that is the reality of the world in which we live.

And privacy is not absolute. Many of us have had calls from Public Health after a patient tested positive for a reportable communicable disease. The appropriate people are mobilized to gather that patient’s private information in order to protect others from the spread of that communicable disease. When other people’s lives and health are at stake, personal privacy needs to take second place to public safety.

A person can choose to live off the grid and lose out on the conveniences afforded to those of us who choose to use cellphones and the Internet. Likewise, a person can choose to remain unvaccinated, but then they should lose out on certain freedoms (such as cross-border travel) that should be afforded only to those of us who have chosen to be vaccinated.
—David B. Chapman, MBChB

David B. Chapman, MBChB. Passport to post-pandemia. BCMJ, Vol. 63, No. 8, October, 2021, Page(s) 318,320 - Editorials, COVID-19.



Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

About the ICMJE and citation styles

The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.

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