As the world is transfixed by the escalating war in Ukraine and its economic fallout, big moves concerning vaccine passports are taking place behind closed doors.
An article published last Thursday by Politico, citing a source from the so-called Vaccine Credential Initiative (VCI™), reported that the World Health Organization is poised to convene member States and representatives of Covid-19 immunization credential technology groups to recognize different vaccine certificates across nations and regions. In other words, as countries around the world drop almost all of their COVID-19 public health measures, it looks like digital vaccine passports are going to be made not just universal but permanent (as I warned would happen in April 2021):
The WHO is bringing together the groups to develop a “trust framework” that would allow countries to verify whether vaccine credentials are legitimate, said Brian Anderson, chief digital health physician at MITRE and a co-founder of the VCI.
Why it matters: The effort would aid international travel by allowing proof of vaccination to be more easilyshared and verified, Anderson said. Many countries and regions have different standards for proof of inoculation, creating confusion for travelers and officials.
“It’s piecemeal, not coordinated and done nation to nation,” Anderson said. “It can be a real challenge.”
The WHO would say only that news on the topic should be coming “soon.”
The VCI is behind SMART Health Cards, which have become the de facto standard for digital vaccine credentials in the U.S., with dozens of states developing or adopting the technology. The group will participate in the initiative.
The Vaccine Credentials Initiative (VCI™) is one of a number of private partnerships working to harmonize vaccine passport standards and systems at a global level. The VCI™ is leading the development and implementation of the open-source SMART Health Card Framework and specifications. Its partners include U.S. government contractor MITRE Corporation, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Oracle, Sales Force and Mayo Clinic.
According to its own website, the VCI™ has helped to implement SMART health cards in 15 jurisdictions: the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, Hong Kong, Israel, the Cayman Islands, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Senegal, Qatar, Rwanda, North Macedonia and Aruba. It has also helped to “quietly” roll out digital vaccine certificates across 21 US states, as Forbes recently reported:
While the United States government has not issued a federal digital vaccine pass, a national standard has nevertheless emerged. To date, 21 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico offer accessibility to the SMART Health Card, a verifiable digital proof of vaccination developed through the Vaccination Credential Initiative (VCI), a global coalition of public and private stakeholders…
And very soon, at least four more states will be rolling out access to SMART Health Cards. “We’ve seen a notable uptick in states that have officially launched public portals where individuals can get verifiable vaccination credentials in the form of SMART Health Cards with a QR code,” says Dr. Brian Anderson, co-founder of the VCI and chief digital health physician at MITRE.
Another global partnership seeking to standardize vaccine passports is the Commons Project Foundation (CPJ), which was founded by the Rockefeller Foundation and is supported by the World Economic Forum.
There is also the Good Health Pass Collaborative, which was founded last year by Mastercard, IBM, Grameen Foundation and the International Chamber of Commerce. The organization is the brainchild of the world’s largest digital identity advocacy group, the New York-based ID2020 Alliance, which itself was set up in 2016 with seed money from Microsoft, Accenture, PwC, the Rockefeller Foundation, Cisco and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. The ID2020 Alliance’s goal is to “enable access to digital identity for every person on the planet.”
WHO Changing Course
This is all happening as the general messaging around vaccine passports in most countries is that they are on their way out, at least for domestic purposes, as we all return to some semblance of normality. The vaccine passports are moving to the backburner — at least that’s what we are being told. But at the same time, governments, companies and supranational governing entities are working behind the scenes to extend the use of vaccine passports for all international travel, in the process making them a permanent feature of the global legal landscape.
According to the Politico article, the World Health Organization, after publicly opposing vaccine passports for more than a year, is ready to lend its endorsement. If true, it represents a sea change in policy.
Just over a month ago, at the tenth meeting of the International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee regarding the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the WHO reiterated its opposition to vaccine passports, urging states “NOT… to require proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for international travel as the only pathway or condition permitting international travel given limited global access and inequitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.”
Now, just over a month later, that opposition appears to be crumbling — and not just according to VCI™. On February 23, T-Systems, the IT services arm of Deutsche Telekom, announced in a press release that it had been chosen by the WHO as an “industry partner” in the introduction of digital vaccine passports as a standard procedure not only for COVID-19 vaccines but also “other vaccinations such as polio or yellow fever, across 193 countries” as well as presumably other vaccines that come on line in the future:
The World Health Organization (WHO) will make it easier for its member states to introduce digital vaccination certificates in the future. The WHO is setting up a gateway for this purpose. It enables QR codes on electronic vaccination certificates to be checked across national borders. It is intended to serve as a standard procedure for other vaccinations such as polio or yellow fever after COVID-19. The WHO has selected T-Systems as an industry partner to develop the vaccination validation services.
Garrett Mehl, Unit Head, WHO Department of Digital Health and Innovation, said: “COVID-19 affects everyone. Countries will therefore only emerge from the pandemic together. Vaccination certificates that are tamper-proof and digitally verifiable build trust. WHO is therefore supporting member states in building national and regional trust networks and verification technology. The WHO’s gateway service also serves as a bridge between regional systems. It can also be used as part of future vaccination campaigns and home-based records.”
Adel Al-Saleh, Member of the Deutsche Telekom AG Board of Management and CEO T-Systems, explained: “Corona has a grip on the world. Digitization keeps the world running. Digital vaccination certificates like the EU’s are key to this. We are pleased to be able to support the WHO in the fight against the pandemic. Health is a strategic growth area for T-Systems. Winning this contract underscores our commitment to the industry.”
The timing of the WHO’s purported policy reversal is certainly curious given that back in April 2021 the organization said it was not yet ready to commit to vaccine passports because it was not yet clear whether the vaccines actually prevented transmission of the virus.
“We at WHO are saying at this stage we would not like to see the vaccination passport as a requirement for entry or exit because we are not certain at this stage that the vaccine prevents transmission,” WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris said at a UN news briefing. “There are all those other questions, apart from the question of discrimination against the people who are not able to have the vaccine for one reason or another.”
Now that we know for sure that the COVID-19 vaccines do not prevent transmission of COVID-19 in the Omicron era (and recent public health data from Scotland, whose disclosure the Scottish government has now terminated, England and Denmark suggest they may actually exacerbate it), the WHO apparently feels that now is an ideal time to endorse vaccine passports for global travel. This is happening less than two months after the region of the world with the highest per-capita take up of vaccine passports, Europe, was the epicenter of the Omicron wave. It’s also happening as concerns are quickly growing about the safety of the mRNA vaccines for COVID-19.
Closing All Borders for the Unvaccinated
If the WHO does reverse policy on vaccine passports and its 194 member countries follow the organization’s new guidelines and implement vaccine passport systems, it will presumably mean that anyone who is not up to date with their vaccine schedule will not be able to cross international borders in the future. And that would essentially mean the end of two fundamental ethical principles underpinning modern medicine: bodily autonomy (the right to make decisions over one’s own life and future); and bodily integrity (the right to self-ownership and self-determination over one’s own body). In other words, if we ever want to travel again we will no longer have any say over what goes inside out body.
And all this for the sake of non-sterilizing vaccines that offer virtually no protection against transmission or infection of COVID-19 and whose safety profile is looking increasingly suspect. There are plenty of other reasons why we should worry about the mandatory application of vaccine passports for global travel, including:
- The threat they pose to our privacy;
- The additional abilities and powers they grant to governments and corporations to track, trace and control the population;
- The not insignificant risk that our most personal data, including our health information and biometric identifiers, could be hacked, leaked or simply shared with third parties;
- The polarizing, discriminatory and segregational effects vaccine passports are already having across societies, affecting marginalized groups the most;
- The threat they pose to many of our most basic rights and freedoms.
For the moment, the WHO’s legal framework – the so-called International Health Regulations (IHR) – does not grant the organization inspection, policing or enforcement powers against its member States. In other words, it cannot force member States to follow its guidelines. But that could also be about to change. As the Politico article reports, talks are under way to establish a “global pandemic treaty” that will give the WHO more powers to “strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.”
The U.S. government, the WHO’s biggest donor, “has been involved in backdoor discussions with the WHO on the treaty and how to strengthen the organization,” notes the article. The proposed amendments “would require swift action by countries and the WHO during an emergency and give the WHO greater powers to act during a crisis.” In other words, the WHO could soon be given much sharper teeth when it comes to shaping global health policy.
This process officially began on December 1, 2021 when the 194 members of the World Health Organization (WHO) agreed to draft and negotiate a convention, agreement or other international instrument granting the WHO greater powers. According to the European Council, “an intergovernmental negotiating body will now be constituted and hold its first meeting by 1 March 2022 (to agree on ways of working and timelines) and its second by 1 August 2022 (to discuss progress on a working draft). It will then deliver a progress report to the 76th World Health Assembly in 2023, with the aim to adopt the instrument by 2024.”
As I note in my upcoming book Scanned: Why Vaccine Passports and Digital ID Will Mean the End of Privacy and Personal Freedom, while there is a case to be made for establishing pandemic control processes and standards at a global level, especially given how badly many national governments have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and how poorly they have coordinated their containment efforts, giving so much power to a largely unaccountable, heavily conflicted institution comes with huge risks:
[A] centralized global pandemic response under the auspices of an organization like the WHO will mean that health authorities will be even less answerable to local populations. One thing that is clear is that the WHO, in its current form, is not the body to do it.
The organization has already done a shoddy enough job of combatting the current pandemic. For example, it failed to recognize that the COVID-19 virus was an airborne disease until far too late. It also fought, at every step, to discourage national health authorities from using cheap, off-patent medicines… in the early treatment of COVID-19 patients. The WHO is also heavily conflicted by the donations it receives from private companies, many in the pharmaceutical industry, and private trusts, such as the Gates and Rockefeller foundations, both at the forefront of efforts to push global digital identity on the world’s population.
It seems those companies now want more bang for their buck. The Global Business Coalition — whose members include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, BusinessEurope, the Confederation of Indian Industry and others across six continents — recently sent a letter to the WHO requesting even more of a say in the agency’s decisions. “The current pandemic represents a paradigm shift in the way governments, business, and civil society forge deep bonds to respond to emergency situations and to develop sustainable health policies,” the coalition wrote.
If the powers-that-be think that this idea will work, I would like to dedicate this song to them:
IIRC, vaccination rates are stratified in the US with PMC level incomes being far more likely to unhesitatingly get jabbed. PMCs therefore are probably the ones with the means to go abroad and they’re the ones who buy the CDC’s and WHO’s incompetent declarations. I don’t see a high likelihood of resistance to it, since the marginalized are derided as lunatics and sneered at.
And why am I not surprised the MITRE corporation is involved in this? They do a ton of work with the DOD, NSA, etc as “advisors” and “advocates”.
while that’s an interesting piece of musical work, my teeth are now aching from the quite obvious autotune used in the chorus section.
even worse, he’s probably trying to sing like the autotune as well. which is sad.
my own thought was immediately this, which will hopefully serve as an autotune palate cleanser:
Everybody Wants to Rule the World
So the shots for Covid are still being propagandized as if they were sterilizing vaccines?
They are getting loose with the term “inoculatuon” too.
These shots do not work like a Mumps or measles shots. And oeople have lost their minds to keep thinking these shots are in the same league.
If they get away with this, no telling what experimental junk will be in play next and it is a giant disaster in the making.
we, like cattle, will be taking multiple shots of mystery juice every year and are not supposed to fight back nor wonder what’s in the vials.
This is going to mess with a lot of people’s minds this. A vaccine passport when Omicron has already demonstrated the uselessness of such a thing? Is this just a back door way for an international ID that will be interoperable between countries? How are poorer countries supposed to afford the infrastructure to support these idea? Will Bill Gates offer his services as a tech head? If it existed now, would all Russian vaccine passports be now cancelled?
And where it says ‘The Global Business Coalition — whose members include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, BusinessEurope, the Confederation of Indian Industry and others across six continents — recently sent a letter to the WHO requesting even more of a say in the agency’s decisions.’ this is reminiscent how the TPP had private corporations doing the negotiating and leaving out government agencies. This smells like more of the same as it sounds like it is more about commerce than medicine/public health.
Wait until they ask, er, tell you to get chipped.
That cast of characters pushes as practical altruism their abject control of humanity.
bitter pillsweetener, their version of UBI would have a few social credit bugsfeatures and digital currency kill switches to ensure pliability.
Gives … uh… new meaning to the word ‘philanthropist’.
I’m not so sure. If you’re the type inclined to support this sort of thing in the first place then nothing will convince you otherwise.
How do they afford to buy F-18s?
As long as they don’t block the whole of the Irish border including some very minor roads around Slieve Gullion in what was once bandit country, they can all go & family blog themselves.
Oh, have no fear. The technology of autonomous flying drones will eventually catch up with “science fiction.” Then the ‘borders’ will be surveilled round the clock. The only “underground” border crossings will be either exactly thst, tunnels, or “officially agreed upon” back doors.
As someone always says in the monster films, “There are some things Man was not meant to know.”
Thanks for this post. The drive by supranational private entities for greater and greater social control with greater centralization in their hands reminds me of the Wicked Witch of the West (Wizard of Oz) looking into her crystal ball and coaxing Dorothy , “Just one more step, just one more step, my pretty.”
The road to the CCP-style social credit system is paved with ‘just one more step’. If you thought the TPP was a bad idea, this is worse.
The ID2020 Alliance’s goal is to “enable access to digital identity for every person on the planet
sounds like a globalist wet dream…
The U.S. government, the WHO’s biggest donor, “has been involved in backdoor discussions with the WHO on the treaty and how to strengthen the organization,” notes the article.
[A] centralized global pandemic response under the auspices of an organization like the WHO will mean that health authorities will be even less answerable to local populations . One thing that is clear is that the WHO, in its current form, is not the body to do it.
Feature, not bug…
I am not sure that this is much different than what most other countries already have in place for national ID’s. Most European countries, as well as around the world, have a national ID that includes a chip with biometric data like fingerprints.
So vaccination status would only add another piece of information to already extensive data collection these governments have on their citizens. BTW, most of these countries already have vaccination information on their citizens through their national health systems.
I understand that US/Anglosphere has a high resistance to any sort of mandatory ID, but these have been a reality in most of Europe for decades and have not lead to dystopian outcomes touted here. Could they lead to bad outcomes? Yes, absolutely, but if your government is implementing those sort of schemes lack of national ID will not be an obstacle, merely an inconvenience.
There is a difference between an ID that describes your existing physical features and one that would track whether you have taken an injection of dubious reliability. I don’t agree with the former to begin with and definitely don’t agree with the latter.
I grew up in the state of Vermont. When I got my driver’s license in the mid 1980s it didn’t even have a picture on it – if you wanted a picture ID you had to go to the state capitol to get one. Vermont wasn’t a criminal dystopia for lack of picture IDs either.
…and then you have the UK CV testing scandal where the swabs were (probably) analysed for DNA typing. Wonder if that was really UK Gov using the opportunity to DNA surveil a vaste swathe…
Don’t forget the dream of central bank digital currency (cbdc) replacing cash. Universal digital ids are necessary for that scheme to work.
basically, a ccp-style social credit system.
BIS chief Agustin Carstens. youtube.
It is unclear to me if the opposition here is to mandatory certificates for all vaccines or only to the COVID19 vaccine. Since 1935, international travelers have been carrying WHO “yellow cards” to prove inoculation against many diseases as a condition of entry. For example, until 1980, when small pox was deemed eradicated, proof of small pox vaccination was widely required to cross many borders. A “yellow card” is still required for yellow fever throughout most of the Global South. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Yellow_fever_vaccination_travel_requirements_map.svg Should that border-crossing requirement also be eliminated? The requirement is OK for yellow fever but not for COVID19? A “yellow card” is OK, but a digital certificate is not?
No and yes. I myself have had the yellow fever vaccine for my travels in South America. But there’s a world of difference between the yellow fever vaccines and the COVID-19 vaccines. The former is a sterilizing live-attenuated vaccine with a long track record that has provided us with a great deal of information about its short and long-term efficacy and safety. The other is a non-sterilizing vaccine that has been in use for barely a year and whose safety profile is already under serious debate.
But it’s the fact that COVID-19 vaccines do next to nothing to stop transmission of the virus that is the biggest flaw in the plan. The whole point of having yellow cards or vaccine passports is to eliminate or at least significantly reduce the risk of a virus spreading across borders as well as minimize the risk of travelers contracting a virus on their travels. With these COVID-19 vaccines that is simply not possible.
Shush with your facts and data and evidence. Central planners know what’s best.
Sorry, no, but those assertions are simply wrong. Please stick to what you know. And public health vaccine science isn’t one of those areas.
My son and friends needed proof of vaccination against yellow fever a few years ago when they travelled to South America, I needed proof of vaccination against smallpox in my younger-year travels, so the basic idea of a vaccine certificate is not new.
In practice, although the “yellow card” followed WHO standard format, any restrictions were imposed by the country you wanted to visit, and the card was completed by your local authorities – your own doctors, nurses and health systems.
So, to the extent that a country may impose restrictions on visitors that are not vaccinated against COVID, I guess it’s that country’s choice. The people who know your vaccination history are the people who certify it, so there is no extra leakage of personal information using the “yellow card.”.
What’s bad is if the WHO or other international body mandates a nation’s compliance, or if your personal information leaks out of your local authority where it is already known.
What worries me most, then, is the creation of interlinked electronic formats, remotely accessible and no longer under full local control. And as an aside, based on my experience, if I were looking for an industry partner, T-Systems would not be first on my list.
“As I note in my upcoming book Scanned: Why Vaccine Passports and Digital ID Will Mean the End of Privacy and Personal Freedom”
The title of the book says it all the End of Freedom.
Numerous alternative commentators have said this from the outset of the Covid Madness, it is all about digital ID, currency, tracking, monitoring. And this is why many have refused to cooperate and have been skeptical of coopted and manipulated public officials. One rallying song is I Will Not Comply.
And the video evidence is all over the Internet. Here is just one example in one minute:
That’s the Schwabber bragging about how Chief Injector Trudeau is in the bag with half his Cabinet! What “consideration” was given for that? Argentina too!
So, if you hate Freedom, keep complying.
This is utter nonsense: “Now that we know for sure that the COVID-19 vaccines do not prevent transmission of COVID-19 (and recent public health data from Scotland, England and Denmark suggest they may actually exacerbate it), the WHO apparently feel that now is an ideal time to endorse vaccine passports for global travel…”
Funny how you don’t cite or link on that lie. In fact, the evidence of overwhelming that Covid vaccines BOTH reduce the RATE (not entirely, but no vaccine does) of transmission AND especially of severe disease. So your premise that vaccines don’t work (and the even more laughable one that they make Covid worse) is further propaganda from science-illiterate vax deniers.
So your conclusion that vaccine passports are entirely unnecessary is entirely wrong. Masking for vaccinated people, perhaps for now. But vaccines remain the single most important tool for avoiding or ameliorating future outbreaks/surges, etc., from new strains and old.
I’m shocked that Naked Capitalism would allow this to be posted. I’ve generally considered it, up to now, rigorously fact-based, and it just dropped a notch in my assessment.
Here are a couple of links. Apologies for not providing them in the body of the text. Have changed that now:
(page 44, compare first two columns. Note that the vaccinated cohort excludes people who have had two or fewer shots. Public Health England’s data have been showing higher infection rates among vaccinated than unvaccinated in all age groups except under 18 year-olds for some time now).
(Data from Danish public health authorities from early stage of Omicron wave. On page 6 the top table shows the difference in infection rates between vaccinated and unvaccinated for Omicron and previous variants. Taken together those who had received two or three shots represented close to 90% of recorded cases of Omicron in a country with a vaccination rate of just over 80%. Note that the proportion for previous variants is quite a lot lower, at around 75%).
Am trying to find the data for Scotland, which is (or should I say was) extremely reliable. But Public Health Scotland (PHS), like the CDC, has stopped disclosing the data on the grounds that it “is being misused deliberately by anti-vaccination campaigners.”
Read more here: https://www.glasgowtimes.co.uk/news/19931641.covid-data-will-not-published-concerns-misrepresented-anti-vaxxers/
Just found the last reported data set from PHS:
The relevant data is on page 37. Note that in the final four weeks of reporting the age-standardized infection rate among the unvaccinated was not only lower than the infection rate among those who had received two doses; it was also lower than the infection rate among those who had received three. That was in the final three weeks of reporting. And the gap between those numbers was growing.
Thanks for this info.
Hopefully the incidence is due to vaxxed people being carefree, when they actually were being careless…
Sorry to have to reiterate, but you are typical of vaxx deniers (including those flogging pre-Covid vaccine-autism link lies) in that you throw a flurry of dubious or misused cherry-picked citations at the wall and think that is what passes for an argument. All usually accompanied by explanatory blather that’s typically lifted verbatim from denier websites, none of which supports the actual science.
Lots of ways that science illiterate people (much like climate deniers) grasp at straws to try to “prove” their sophistry. Whereas I could cite hundreds of rigorous studies and meta-analyses that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that these vaccines are showing almost miraculous results, with little risk.
The scientific CONSENSUS among actual experts in the various related fields is that the Covid nRNA (and others commonly used in the West) are safe and effective.
Fact check: The mRNA coronavirus vaccine is a vaccine, and it is designed to prevent illness
Effectiveness of COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines Against COVID-19–Associated Hospitalization — Five Veterans Affairs Medical Centers, United States, February 1–August 6, 2021
Covid-19 mRNA Vaccines — Six of One, Half a Dozen of the Other — NEJM (13-Jan-22)
Hogan, M. J., & Pardi, N. (2022). mRNA Vaccines in the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond. Annual review of medicine, 73, 17-39
COVID-19 Incidence and Death Rates Among Unvaccinated and Fully Vaccinated Adults with and Without Booster Doses During Periods of Delta and Omicron Variant Emergence — 25 U.S. Jurisdictions, April 4–December 25, 2021
I have a vaccine side effect and will have to get a medical procedure to address it. My medical exams attribute it to the vaccines, meaning this is not the first time the doctors in NYC have seen this happen. So don’t try selling me this crap that the vaccines are safe. Their safety profile is not good enough to be administered on a mass basis (as opposed to patients with existing health issues where side effects can be weighted against the effects of the disease).
The last CDC study is crap. Omicron had barely arrived in the US and nothing could be concluded re vaccine efficacy. The massive Omicron spike disproves it. I will be writing it up today.
The initial rounds of vaccines do not prevent infection and only prevent worse outcomes for 5-6 months. Booster efficacy drops below 50% in 10 weeks. The European medical authority says multiple boosters within a year runs the risk of immune system exhaustion so they are recommending against it.
And you say the vaccines are working? Seriously? It was known from the very outset that immunity to coronaviruses are short lived, whether by vaccines or from infection.
Pfizer dumped its side effects report today. It shows EVEN UNDER WILD TYPE much lower efficacy than advertised and far more side effects. I