• Rich Barlow

    Senior Writer

    Rich Barlow

    Rich Barlow is a senior writer at BU Today and Bostonia magazine. Perhaps the only native of Trenton, N.J., who will volunteer his birthplace without police interrogation, he graduated from Dartmouth College, spent 20 years as a small-town newspaper reporter, and is a former Boston Globe religion columnist, book reviewer, and occasional op-ed contributor. Profile

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There are 13 comments on “Vaccine Passports”: COVID-19 Protection or Discrimination against BIPOC and the Poor?

    1. Actually, that never existed. See illegal drug laws, mandatory seatbelt laws, motorcycle helmet laws, mandatory vaccinations to go to school (remember having to verify your vaccine status to attend BU?) There is a big difference between slogans and reality.

      1. In addition to what LHG said, even if that did legally exist… My right to swing my fists ends where your nose begins. The physical consequences of you not getting vaccinated don’t stop with you, unlike in the example the slogan comes from.

      2. Mandatory school inoculation is not 100% enforceable because of personal rights, whether they are based on religious, moral, or physical beliefs.
        The implications of forcing people to wear seatbelts or motorcycle helmets is a weak comparison and not applicable to this topic because the seatbelts and helmets are proven and are not physiologically-altering substances.
        Illegal drug use is a personal belief that the person is made better by inducing a foreign substance into their that has a known effect and it is at that person’s consent. It is an infringement upon a person’s rights to be forced to take an unproven substance that has possible devastating effects.

    2. I think you make a valid point. If a state actively supports abortion rights, where you ARE terminating a life other than your own then the same state should support your right to refuse to vaccinate under the same premise. A seatbelt & helmet are not being injected into your body & people can still choose not to use them. Also does this set precedent for all future upcoming vaccines? Are we all going to be required to take every vaccine available from now one regardless if it’s tried & true? There are several in the works now. Are bipoc communities going to be last on the list to have access or worse be used as unpaid lab rats b/c they’re first in line under the guise of “helping the less fortunate”.
      Also I know many people who are adament that others be forced to get the covid vaccine but are just as adament that the HPV cancer vaccine is only for promiscuous people & they would “never” let their child have it. So what if we forced it on them? Should we force ALL vaccines on everyone?
      Let me use a non-covid reference. Donating organs saves lots of lives. Should we force everyone, whether they agree or not, to donate upon death to save lives? Same with donating blood, plasma & marrow. Should we force everyone to do that to save lives?
      It’s a slippery slope & the term “for public safety” is a big giant chasm that can include all sorts of things. In the past that term was used to force sterilizations, lobotomies, medical treatments, massive racial discrimination campaigns & all sorts of things that we consider totally wrong today. I think we really need to think about what we’re doing before forcing anything.

  1. While vaccinations offer a lot of protection, they do NOT guarantee you will not contract COVID-19 nor that you cannot carry it from one contact to another,

    1. When a pregnant waitress does not have access to a vaccine and her employer asks his patrons for vaccination passports, she knows that her customers are vaccinated and her contagion rate is diminished, she will feel not only protected but safe and would be able to continue her employment and provide for her new baby. When a family is at a movie theater that requires vaccination verification, the parents will be at peace knowing that their children potential exposure to the virus is much smaller than in a theater that does not require vaccine information. When grandpa is safe at the nursing home not only because staff has been vaccinated but also because visitors have been requested to show a vaccine passport, grandpa can enjoy a birthday surrounded by friends and family without worry of contagion.

      1. Let’s be realistic, there will be counterfeit passports that can’t be prevented. Passports only provide a false sense of security. In reality nothing is for certain. These vaccines have not been proven to be 100% effective. Even thousands of fully vaccinated Americans are coming down with Covid still. But this is not readily published since it will cause fear.
        I will not ever abandon wearing masks and goggles or eye shields. Nor will I be seen in mass crowds. I’m a woman aged 72 but I have to protect myself even though I do not have any pre-existing conditions. I haven’t gotten Covid nor will I because I’m healthy, eat right and exercise. So in that way I will be certain that I won’t endanger my family friends or anyone that I will come in contact with.

  2. I think this article brings up a good point. Discrimination that occurs within low- income communities has been an issue that we have been constantly fighting in the United States. Personally, I think that “vaccine passports” are a good way to ensure that the US can resume normal life and allow smaller businesses to flourish again. The hardest part of this is making sure that these low-income, smaller communities have proper and equal access to the vaccine. Personally, I find it strange that at the federal level, there haven’t been official legislative processes taken to ensure that everyone in the United States is able to receive the vaccine. I think it also brings up the question of safety v.s individual rights and what is more important. At this moment, I feel like ensuring that people have the vaccine and limiting the spread of COVID may slightly outweigh the importance of small personal privacy.

  3. This article addresses an important point about the accessibility of COVID vaccines. This is an issue that needs to be addressed both nationally and internationally. New York launched a Vaccine Equity Task Force to ensure equitable distribution of COVID vaccines. However, since vaccine distribution has been left to the states, equity has not been achieved at a national level. That being said, I do think that the vaccine passports offer a safe way for life to go back to “normal,” whatever that may be. While research is ongoing, the CDC has found great success with the effectiveness of preventing vaccinated individuals from contracting COVID. Additionally, the vaccines are effective in significantly decreasing the symptoms in patients that do contract COVID. The World Health Organization did make a good point that vaccine passports should not be required until vaccine equity is achieved. Making sure that people who want the vaccine can access the vaccine should be the most important issue in the country right now.

  4. I find it very interesting that vaccines, particularly the COVID vaccine, have become politicized. Some of the other comments on this article provide examples of this new phenomenon; people are saying things like “my body, my choice,” and “coercing COVID vaccination is immoral.” But this article wasn’t even about whether or not people should have to get vaccinated- it was about potential discrimination against BIPOC and the poor through the requirement of vaccine passports. Not everything has to be turned into a discussion on the infringement of personal liberties (though to be clear, I do not think that a vaccine mandate would be an infringement). People should listen to and learn about the issues facing marginalized groups, rather than try to speak over them with their own issues. Those discussions can be held at a separate time and place.

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