Chicago doesn't want you to call their vaccine passport a vaccine passport

The city of Chicago is rolling out its own vaccine passport this month, allowing vaccinated people to display their immunity status and gain entry to public events such as summer concerts. That is sadly not really unusual, since these programs are showing up all over the country in both public and private sector applications. But according to the Chicago Public Health Commissioner, you’re not supposed to call it a “vaccine passport.” You should think of it more as a free benefit to allow you to gain access to activities you would otherwise be barred from. Really? Has anyone suggested to the Health Commissioner that the city might want to invest in hiring a public relations specialist for her? (ABC News)

Dr. Allison Arwady, Chicago’s public health commissioner, stressed that the forthcoming pass is not a vaccine passport, nor is it an app that businesses check before patrons can enter.

Instead, it will be more similar to city passes that give residents discounts, free admission to museums or let them skip lines to city attractions, she explained.

While the details have not yet been finalized, “Vax Pass” is meant to incentivize Chicagoans, especially young Chicagoans, to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Okay, so she doesn’t want people calling it a vaccine passport or even an immunity passport. So what is this new “Vax Pass” then? The good doctor offers an example, saying that “you’ll have opportunities to attend music events that are only open to people who are vaccinated.”

Let’s see if I’ve got this straight. If there’s a concert taking place that I would like to attend, when I show up at the gate I will be asked to show my Vax Pass. If I have it, I can go inside. If I don’t have it, I will be turned away. So how is this any different than showing up at a border crossing and being asked to show a document proving that I’m allowed to enter the country?

The short answer is that it’s no different at all. The Chicago Vax Pass, just like the Excelsior Pass in New York, is an immunity passport. If you are anywhere in New York State right now and you want to enter one of the state parks, you have to display your Excelsior Pass or you are not going to be allowed immediate access. You may still be able to get in by showing a park official your CDC vaccination card or a current negative COVID test, but that will take longer to verify. If you can’t produce any of those documents, either digitally or in hard copy, you can just turn around and go home.

The reason Dr. Arwady doesn’t want people calling the Vax Pass a vaccination passport is that the term has taken on such a politically toxic tone. (And for good reason.) Chicago has made admirable progress in getting the population vaccinated, currently closing in on 50% of eligible adults. But that means that fully half of the city still isn’t vaccinated. That might be because they couldn’t get an appointment or make it out of their house to reach one of the pods. Or maybe they’re still unsure about the vaccines. Some of the young, healthy people have likely assumed that they’ll be fine if they catch the virus. Others may have already had it and built up their own antibodies. But none of those people are going to be allowed into these events that are supposedly open to the public unless they commit to participating in the city’s damned passport program and display their personal medical information.

So do we know when this digital system of immunity passports is scheduled to end? Here’s the kicker. As far as I can tell, there is no targeted end date. This could become a permanent feature of life in the Windy City just as it appears to be in the Big Apple. But if you don’t feel like getting a flu vaccination next winter (or Shingles or anything else, for that matter) you won’t be barred from any public events. You can head on in and cough on everyone to your heart’s content. We continue to see the government – at every level – treating this new coronavirus as if it’s some demonic entity threatening to throw down our entire civilization.

This is government-sanctioned fearmongering on an epic scale.COVID is a disease. The world is full of diseases. And if you aren’t in one of the most at-risk groups and you catch it, there’s an almost 100% chance that you’ll not only survive, but you probably won’t experience much more than possibly missing a couple of days of work. A majority of you won’t even know you have it and won’t bother getting tested because you’ll think it’s just a summer cold. Others won’t notice any symptoms at all. And yet everyone is being funneled into the passport waiting line. I hate to say “I told you so” but I told you so last year.