Back in early April, while the pandemic was still gaining traction, I peered into my crystal ball and asked if the day was coming when we would end up creating a two-tiered system of freedom in our country. On the upper level would be those who had survived the virus (or received a vaccination when they became available) and were “certified immune” so they were free to go about their business. Below them would be those who were unable to get a vaccine or didn’t wish to have one. They might be forced to continue in lockdown, wearing masks and all the rest. I described this as a sort of dystopian, science-fiction future.
Well, welcome to the future. We’re about to deal with precisely that issue and it’s already under discussion in New Hampshire. A debate is underway as to whether or not your employer can make a COVID vaccination mandatory as a requirement for keeping your job. And the general consensus thus far in the legal community is that they can. But this isn’t going to simply stop with questions about whether or not you can keep your job. The arrival of vaccination identity cards or “immunity passports” should be alarming to anyone who is keeping an eye on their civil liberties. (Inside Sources)
Will the new COVID-19 vaccines be added to the list of mandatory inoculations for school kids? Can employers require their employees to prove they’ve been vaccinated? Can a business refuse to serve customers who’ve refused the vaccine?
The New Hampshire Department of Justice is issuing guidelines to address some of the difficult questions raised by the slow rollout of the COVID vaccines, such as the use of vaccination cards as so-called “immunity passports.”
“The purpose of this document is to provide employers, employees and businesses with frequently asked questions and answers that may be used to evaluate their options and to assist in responding to inquiries from their communities,” the NHDOJ said in a statement.
We covered a related issue a couple of weeks ago in terms of whether or not your employer can grill you about your holiday travel plans. Legal experts believe that they can and probably will in the near future, assuming they aren’t doing it already. In some cases, those who are reluctant to sign up for the vaccine may be forced to do so or face legal problems. New York is already looking at a law that could make vaccinations mandatory if the state fails to reach “herd immunity.”
Both the idea of issuing immunity passports and making vaccinations mandatory in at least some circumstances are obviously already on the table. The COVID vaccine isn’t on the list of required vaccines for children to be able to attend school yet, but that’s only because the CDC has only issued emergency approval for the vaccines. When they issue general approval, it will almost certainly be added to the list. The New York legislation referenced above shows us that some governments will attempt to force you to take the vaccine, though they offer no suggestion as to how they intend to enforce the order.
This is no longer some sort of hyperbolic warning of future events. We’re already at the tipping point when it comes to this question. If you don’t qualify for an immunity passport for whatever reason, you could be barred from going to school, holding a job, boarding a plane, or taking any other public transportation systems. You could be banned from stores, bars, restaurants, or virtually any other aspect of public society. You could fall under laws mandating face masks or even quarantine conditions while your fellow citizens with passports will be free to go about their business in the usual fashion.
There’s a bit of grim humor in the way that some of our more liberal neighbors rail against the idea of voter ID or a requirement to show citizenship papers to immigration enforcement officials but they seem perfectly willing to sign up for this sort of system. Racism and sexism are definitely verboten, but it looks like “immunityism” will be just fine and dandy going forward. Is there anything to be done about this before we land firmly in a situation where the “haves” (in terms of immunity) will be free and legally supported to engage in discrimination against the “have nots?” Not as far as I can tell. It looks like that train has already left the station. And you won’t be allowed on the train without your immunity passport.