From the Left



After Getting My First COVID-19 Shot, Vaccine ‘Passports’ Don’t Sound So Scary

Clarence Page, Tribune Content Agency on

I got it!

After working my way through a labyrinth of websites and telephone numbers and waiting lists, I finally received my first of two scheduled coronavirus vaccination shots.

Halfway there, I told myself. After a year of COVID-19 lockdowns, the slight soreness in my upper left arm is thoroughly mitigated by my overall sense of relief.

I also received something unexpected after my “jab,” as the British refer to such shots: A card slightly larger than a business card that documents what shot I received and what time I was scheduled to return three weeks later for the necessary second dose.

And, as I sat through the mandatory 15 minutes to see whether any side effects turned me into a zombie, it occurred to me that I had joined a new class, the COVID-19-vaccinated, which marks the beginning of another hot-button political issue: COVID-19 passports.

No, I’m not talking about those yellow passport-sized travel certificates that the federal government issues to show that you’ve been vaccinated against yellow fever and similar hazards in some countries overseas.


I’m talking about government-issued cards, smartphone apps and other possible instruments of health verification that are being considered to help keep the coronavirus out of mass gatherings in this country.

We’re all eager to open up public life and the economy again. But if you think required mask-wearing, Zoom churchgoing, socially distanced beach parties and other mass cocooning are volatile issues, the domestic vaccine passports idea, whether by cards or smartphone apps, is downright nuclear.

Social media, for example, lit up like a fireworks factory fire after reports in November that Ticketmaster might require concertgoers to provide proof of vaccination or negative virus tests to attend events. (“Yikes,” responded one tweet, “I can’t wait for y’all to go out of business.”)

In a statement on their website, Ticketmaster strongly denied any such plans and, besides, any health or safety decisions would be up to event planners, not the ticket sellers.


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