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Judging from plummeting cases in spite of slowly lifted restrictions EU reached herd immunity somewhere (guesstimate) around late April. Simultaneously, EU wants to implement Covid passports from 1st July onward. In the same time vaccines are being rolled out (including second doses) so the situation is anyway on the way to be contained.

I'm NOT asking what would have been rationale for Covid passport around February 2021, but what's the point of even bothering with such policy at such late point? (I understand risk of new mutations, but the whole risk is based here on new strains mutating in a way that would undermine effectiveness of existing vaccines.)

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    "EU reached herd immunity somewhere (guesstimate) around late April" - I think you have wrong information here. It's one month later now, and only 19% of EU citizens are fully vaccinated (43% are half-vaccinated). Experts assume that 70% to 90% of fully vaccinated people are required for herd immunity. Extrapolations show that this will be reached in September, but it's not clear if the trend can be trivially extrapolated that way. vaccinetracker.ecdc.europa.eu/public/extensions/COVID-19/….
    – Philipp
    May 27 at 11:18
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    @Philipp You are not including those who acquired immunity through infection, including asymptomatic ones and mild cases that not have been officially registered because people wanted to avoid quarantine. Moreover, hadn't herd immunity been reached, in Poland we have clearly inexplicable / miraculous plummet of new infections in spite of restrictions being lifted.
    – Shadow1024
    May 27 at 11:29
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The EU agenda plans for vaccine passports were indeed not intended to be implemented in 2020.

In 2019 it was an agreed upon goal to have them in 2022. See this roadmap from third quarter 2019:

(For 2022) Commission proposal for a common vaccination card/ passport for EU citizens.

(For 2021/2022) Guidance on overcoming legal (and technical) barriers to the interoperability of national immunisation information systems.

(For 2019–2021) Feasibility study for the development of a common EU vaccination card.

European Commission – ROADMAP ON VACCINATION Last update: Q3 2019

Whether that is indeed intended for only encouraging more vaccinations – no matter what vaccines – or a more unique digital identifier per person? That is a guess for any reader to complement on. But those pushing strictly for such IDs are on track for longer than we know that SAS-CoV-2 existed.

Since 2016, ID2020 has advocated for ethical, privacy-protecting approaches to digital ID.

And those pushers use the current 'crisis' to advertise their 'solutions':

ID2020 and partners launch program to provide digital ID with vaccines Sep 20, 2019 | Chris Burt Categories Biometrics News | Civil / National ID | Healthcare Biometrics

The ID2020 Alliance has launched a new digital identity program at its annual summit in New York, in collaboration with the Government of Bangladesh, vaccine alliance Gavi, and new partners in government, academia, and humanitarian relief.

It seems that there are simply quite a few influential groups lobbying constantly for their pet projects, long before any Covid threats, and utterly regardless of whether that is 'a good idea', 'evidenced based' or 'medically necessary'. Any κρίσις is a great opportunity.

On the one hand we see medical opinions abound that warn that immunity from recovery may not be long lasting (despite hints available to the very contrary). Likewise the short-term protection offered by 'vaccines', and even the vaccine manufacturers getting ready to offer 'booster'-shots, regularly, since antibody protection wanes and is currently focused exclusively on just one protein complex of the virus, which might mutate away into immune escape, thus requiring more rounds of shots…

Realistically speaking, and looking at the highly age-stratified risk profile for the rare severe disease Covid-19 that may result from the now very common SARS-CoV-2 virus in the elderly and multi-morbid: there is innate immunity in many people, there was cross immunity towards the novel coronavirus before it hit our shores, there is excellent natural immunity from 'survived natural virus contacts' (not including the gigantic number or mere false positive 'cases', but including true asymptomatic cases and real infections) and now there is 'expected' sufficient antibody mediated immunity allegedly offered by vaccines to those who want them or might really get some benefit from them, (as in are likely not get severely ill on exposure to the real virus) even given the experimental status of those 'vaccines' and tremendous own risk profile.

Every respiratory epidemic so far ended with herd immunity for the causative agent. Even without any vaccines available. It follows that already now no more vaccinations are needed to prevent any feared collapse of health care systems in developed countries. That was nowhere the case anyway. Further, mathematically, since it is nowhere absolutely mandatory to vaccinate recovered patients or the very young, it is a simple substraction to make: first to exclude anyone being seropositive anyway, without vaccination but via good old natural infection, from any desired vaccination-quota, like the dystopian "90%".

No vaccine currently administered was designed to stop the spread, prevent all or even most infections or transmissions. They were tested to prevent serious illness. There are no sterilizing immunity ('complete protection') conveying shots out there. Thus, the concept of her immunity is a quite handicapped one if it were to rely on these 'vaccines' exclusively, ignoring the natural immunity completely. In fact, unless the experimental vaccines turn out in the end to indeed 'stop the spread', they would achieve the opposite of her immunity: continuous transmission of the virus in the 'unvaccinated/unrecovered (virus-naive)' and in the 'vaccinated but nevertheless still infected and infectious (just getting coronavirus but only more seldom Covid than without vaccine)'.

— Martin Kulldorff & Jay Bhattacharya: "It's mad that 'herd immunity' was ever a taboo phrase .The denial of a basic scientific concept by so many prominent authorities is stunning - and alarming", The Telegraph, 27 May 2021.

— Anshel Pfeffer: "In Israel, vaccine passports are already redundant", The Spectator, 10 April 2021.

— Maryanne Demasi & Peter Gotzsche: "COVID-19 vaccine passports are not evidence-based and violate people’s freedom of choice", theBMJ, 08 April 2021.

So, let’s stop discussing the use of vaccine passports as a criterion for basic social and economic participation. This is an idea with few redeeming features and even talking about introducing them may be enough to do damage.

— Stephen Reicher & John Drury: "How to lose friends and alienate people? On the problems of vaccine passports", BMJopinion, April 1, 2021.

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Europe is nowhere near "herd immunity." Click through the various countries in the Johns Hopkins map. The infection numbers are actually worse than they were last summer. Mortality is down because usually the most vulnerable groups were vaccinated first, and the infection is kept under control as much by widespread testing as by the relatively few fully vaccinated people.

There are now enough tests available to test most Europeans several times a week, if not daily, and showing a current test result is required for many activities which were all-out forbidden last year. A vaccination is seen as equivalent to a current test, yet criminals are starting to forge the yellow (international) certification books in large numbers because they are saving people from regular testing requirement. Unfortunately some criminals are willing to risk other peoples' health for their convenience. So the EU is looking at (digital) vaccination/testing certificates to replace those. (Note that it does not give rights by itself, it just documents the status.)

The requirement to fight the pandemic will stay with us for many months, even years. Various countries are now able to balance economic activity, pandemic protection, and other health issues much better than they could last year, but only if the forgery problem can be controlled.

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    Could you please put in some reference to 'COVID passports,' after all that is what the question is about. Regardless of the status of EU's herd-immunity, the question is about the passports.
    – CGCampbell
    May 27 at 16:15
  • "Mortality is down" Based on Euromomo excess mortality is actually negative. /// "The infection numbers are actually worse than they were last summer. In which way not related comparison to such low base point contradicts notion that virus basic reproduction number fell below 1 and is highly likely to stay there?
    – Shadow1024
    May 27 at 16:16
  • "The requirement to fight the pandemic will stay with us for many months, even years." If you say "years" aren't you implying that you consider those vaccines to be unlikely to be effective for long?
    – Shadow1024
    May 27 at 16:36
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    @Shadow1024, the reproduction number will stay low if the people in Europe keep it low. It will go up if they become careless to soon. It reminds me of a quote from a Royal Navy officer about WWI artillery propellants, he said roughly that they're perfectly safe as long as you're fully aware how dangerous they are and handle them with the respect they deserve. Regarding the other question, I expect that annual covid shots will become as normal as annual flu vaccinations.
    – o.m.
    May 27 at 16:43
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    "criminals are starting to forge the yellow (international) certification books in large numbers" - this remark could be further enhanced by pointing out that those booklets are indeed quite easy to forge, compared to other "certifying documents": They incorporate no "technical measures" to prevent forging, nor are they bound to any strict formal requirements that could expose invalid entries. They're just printed sheets of normal paper, and usually a total mess because each doctor completes them differently. May 30 at 11:35
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More infectious strains require a higher level of vaccination to give herd immunity. Unrestricted, such strains will spread rapidly around the globe. Buying time to address emergent threats should allow effective responses, short of a full lockdown.

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Even if a country is near herd immunity level, that doesn't mean that someone with Covid can't create a lot of damage. "Herd immunity" protects because of a combination of many people not catching it when they come to close to someone infected, AND many people not spreading it because they didn't catch it in the first place. It's the combination of both that protects.

So if you enter that country, without vaccination, or worse with Covid, you are actively fighting herd immunity on two levels. Quite reasonable not to want you.

And of course being "on its way to being contained" and "being contained" is absolutely not the same thing. You would want a vaccination passport NOW even if it might be not needed in a few months.

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  • Please avoid dramatic tones.
    – FluidCode
    May 27 at 11:38
  • "You would want a vaccination passport NOW even if it might be not needed in a few months." Well, this legislation isn't providing it "NOW" but in slightly more than a month from now.
    – Shadow1024
    May 27 at 12:05
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    @FluidCode, I find "dramatic tones" extremely appropriate. Europe is far from any herd immunity and the numbers in many places are actually worse than they were last summer. Keeping them on a downward trajectory remains a hard struggle.
    – o.m.
    May 27 at 15:34
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Like all the other flu strains Covid-19 has a huge number of animal hosts, a lot of species belonging mostly to mammals and birds. In order to achieve herd immunity you should vaccinate billions of wild, domestic and farm animals which is obviously impossible. Herd immunity has been used as a leverage to push people to vaccinate, but in reality it cannot be reached.

Since this was always known herd immunity never had any relation with the decision about Covid passports.

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  • That's fine. If that is what you believe (making no comment about it, atm), it belongs in your answer, to answer the question asked. That was all I was suggesting. Now people can agree or not agree with your viewpoint, but at least you've tied it more fully to the question asked., T/Y
    – CGCampbell
    May 28 at 10:47
  • 'Like all the other flu strains, Covid-19 ...' -- SARS-CoV-2 is not a flu strain, not an influenza virus, not related to influenza virus at all (except for being, well, a virus).
    – Jan
    Jun 4 at 12:11
  • @Jan Even if some geneticists claim that there are enough difference to define those viruses as a separate family they have the same source, but the most important point is that they spread with the same mechanisms.
    – FluidCode
    Jun 5 at 12:32
  • You can express exactly the same of what you seem to mean by exchanging "flu-strain" with "flu-like illness" (very officially so: ILI: influenza-like-illness) That should alleviate a lot of sticklishness over definitions of flu? Jun 25 at 14:39

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