You’re against vaccine passports? Guess what, they’ve existed for more than a century.

vaccine passport

Vaccine Passports will go into effect in Quebec on September 1, 2021, as an app.

Vaccine Passport
Photograph courtesy of Olya Kobruseva.

Vaccine passports are one of the most discussed topics in Quebec. The province is the first in Canada to introduce it as part of an effort to re-introducing lockdown measures. Vaccine passports or certificates are nothing new. Everyone was required to get their shots when I qualified for the Quebec Track Team to participate in the Jeux de la Francophonie which were held in the host city of Antananarivo, Madagascar. We were given vaccine passports (or certificates) as proof to show to customs.

The year was 1997.

However, the first vaccine passport dates back to 1897, after Waldemar Haffkine, a scientist from Odessa, Russia, developed a vaccine for plague. Once Haffkine’s vaccine was introduced to British India, there were discussions about people providing proof that they’ve been vaccinated, according to Sanjoy Bhattacharya, a professor of history at the University of York in the U.K. and director of the WHO Collaborating Center for Global Health Histories (1).

The COVID-19 vaccines—especially the Pfizer and Moderna ones—have been around long enough for the public to know that they are safe. In fact, numerous news outlets have reported that 99% of COVID-related illnesses and deaths in the USA are unvaccinated (2). Considering the facts, as well as the absence of evidence to contradict the efficiency of the COVID-19 vaccine, those who refuse to get vaccinated against COVID-19 know or ought to know that they are putting themselves and others at risk.

Photograph courtesy of Alondav

The next time someone complains about their freedom being limited or that vaccine passports are a means to divide the public, I’ll wait for them to use the same argument when they’re refused access to the beach due to shark sightings.

Russell Brooks is the creator of the Ridley Fox/Nita Parris and Eddie Barrow series. His upcoming thriller, Jam Run, will be released in 2022.

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