A new stratum of privilege is emerging in Israel and it may foreshadow life after COVID-19 around the globe. As of next week, vaccinated Israelis and those who have had the virus will be given a “green pass” to enjoy hotels, concerts, gyms and other amenities closed off by the pandemic.
Around half the population chose to get a COVID-19 jab. For the rest, including people under 16 who aren’t eligible for the shots, many of these activities will remain off-limits. Some activities will be available if a negative coronavirus test can be produced.
The pass will be given a week after a second jab is given and will launch on a mobile app that businesses will scan on entry.
Israel has administered the most COVID-19 vaccine shots in the world. Over 40% of its citizens have received a first dose of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine since its campaign began in December. However, the country has faced criticism with millions of Palestinians just receiving the first dose now.
The idea of domestic passports was also peddled by a local artists lobby group as a way to revive Malta’s struggling arts scene.
Meanwhile, EU leaders are debating the possibility of vaccine passports to allow people who are inoculated against COVID-19 to travel freely around the bloc.
Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis wrote to the EU Commission to consider the proposal, saying it would encourage people to get vaccinated and boost tourism.
Maltese political figures like PN MEP Roberta Metsola and Health Minister Chris Fearne also endorsed the idea of EU-vaccine certificates in the battle against the pandemic. Malta’s Superintendent of Public Health also backed the idea.
The passport, which is being sold as a way to boost the global economy slumped by COVID-19, but some are sceptical about the idea.
Major capitals like Berlin seem weary, arguing it may discriminate against those who are fortunate enough to get the vaccine and those who don’t.
Germany’s ethics council, which advises the government, said that no special conditions should be granted to those that take the two jabs.
It argued that there was currently a lack of evidence over whether vaccinated people could still spread the virus and could also create a division between people based on their health status, which could be used to determine the degree of freedoms they can enjoy and present major privacy concerns.
What do you think of Israel’s plan?