Vaccine Passports Are The Latest Great Divide On Social Media

BRAZIL – 2021/04/05: In this photo illustration there is a symbolic COVID-19 health passport on one … [+] Smartphone screen next to the medical syringes. (Photo illustration by Rafael Henrique / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images)

SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images

If you ever need evidence that certain issues could be a catalyst for widening our vast political divide, then “vaccination records” are the place for you. There were clear lines of battle on social media over the past weekend, with many pointing out the dangers of such passes, while others argued that using these passes could make it easier for people to travel and gather together safely.

These opposing voices fear that the government will overreach.

Former Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul wrote, “‘Vaccination passes’ must stop. To accept them is to accept the misconception that the government owns your life, your body and your freedom.”

“We are against vaccination cards. We are for the voter card,” said author David J. Harris Jr. (@DAvidJHJarrisJr).

The feeling was made by Dr. David Drew Pinsky (@drdrew) who called for everyone to be vaccinated but remained an opponent of any form of government-sanctioned passport. He wrote: “These vaccination records separate people and deprive them of the freedom to travel internationally. Vaccinations are important and I encourage everyone to get the Covid vaccine. But how would you feel if other vaccinations are required for international travel?” would be? “

In contrast, proponents emphasized how vaccination records could lead to a return to normal. Political commentator Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) was one of those who was also Dr. Drew exclaimed, remarking, “International travel to certain countries literally already requires vaccinations. Every country requires a passport.”

The problem has continued to divide users, and it seems like it is simply impossible to strike a middle ground.

“The Covid pandemic has drawn us all and emotions are simmering like never before,” said Josh Crandall, Principal Analyst at Netpop Research. “The vaccination record is simply the newest topic on social media. With lockdown restrictions being relaxed and vaccinated people looking to move their lives forward, there is no doubt that it is an important issue.”

However, this won’t make it easier to find common ground. In fact, both sides have such a strong argument that their stance is unlikely to move the needle on the matter.

“On both sides of this problem, there are strong arguments that make implementation problematic,” added Rob Enderle, principal analyst at Enderle Group.

“On the pro side, it would provide a mechanism for vaccinated people to do more things, it should make travel safer, and it would encourage vaccination,” Enderle offered. “On the flip side, vaccinations that are not yet available to everyone are inherently discriminatory. It is not yet clear whether the vaccines prevent transmission or are effective against all variants that may or may not be harmful to humans Case is. ” If not done safely, cheating is likely to be widespread. “

Discrimination concerns

One notable aspect of the social media divide over vaccination records is that it is not entirely a debate between left and right, between liberal and conservative.

“There are some practical concerns about racial and ethnic differences in vaccination rates,” said Greg Sterling, vice president of insights at SaaS marketing firm Uberall.

“The concern is that vaccination records could contribute to discrimination against non-long-term populations, although the concept of a vaccination record is not inherently discriminatory. Privacy and data loss are additional concerns,” added Sterling. “In general, however, the vaccination record concept has sparked the conspiracy that Covid is the population’s denial, which was influenced by the politicization of the virus by the previous government. This is the cause of many problems with certain populations who oppose the vaccine.”

For many, it’s still a rallying-cry “freedom” issue, which is why hashtags for vaccination records with Holocaust and fascism are in vogue.

“The vaccination record for them symbolizes the government’s overreach,” said Sterling. “They were also conditioned – partly through social media – to reflexively reject all things that have to do with taking Covid seriously. These conspiracies were spread and reinforced on social media.”

Level playing field

Some of the problems can be fixed if more people can be vaccinated, but that may not solve the passport problem.

“Time will eventually solve the discrimination problem – with the exception of anti-vaxers – it looks like vaccines are preventing transmission, but variants are still developing,” said Enderle. “There are secure systems like Clear that can help prevent fraud. When properly implemented, there will likely be variants that bypass the vaccines and render passports unusable. However, it can still be worth doing if only more is driving will people who get vaccinated faster, which reduces the likelihood of a vaccine bypass variant occurring. They could also make passports dependent on new versions to treat newer vaccines against the variants. Still, the process involved would be complex, what it makes likely to be abused.

“As a result, a digital mechanism similar to that used for cybercurrencies appears to have the best chance of both being trustworthy and adapting quickly to changing virus mutation problems,” he added. “But much like we are unwilling to look into electronic voting, a paperless passport is probably unacceptable to most decision-makers right now, making a viable solution to a vaccination record unlikely.”

Continuation of the debate

From this issue it emerges that not only is it impossible to strike that middle ground, but that every side has continued to scream in the void. However, hostility has increased accordingly.

Earlier this year President Joe Biden suggested that we were in a civil war, and this topic certainly highlights that fact as much as any other. Problems like this really make it seem like “you are with us or against us” with little room for anything in between.

“In today’s world, every major topic is discussed online,” said Crandall of Netpop Research.

“It comes as no great surprise that people express their feelings about vaccination records online, often using very hostile statements that span social media,” noted Crandall. “This is the new ‘normal’. This is where people turn to express their opinion or just to share it with others. It doesn’t matter whether others read or not. It’s the only place people can express themselves these days. Thankfully, a lot of it is hot air and we’re just hopping from one topic to the next, just like we did when we discussed the final episode of Saturday Night Live around the office water cooler on Monday morning. “

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