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posted by martyb on Tuesday August 24 2021, @11:03AM   Printer-friendly

This spring, as New York City warmed up and the local vaccination rate surged, I met my best friend for our first restaurant meal together in months. As soon as we sat down, she began rifling through her purse. "I have something for you," she told me. From her bag came a rectangle of clear, thick, double-layered plastic—the kind of display pocket that often dangles at the end of a lanyard. My friend had swiped a handful from her office's supply closet. "It's for your vaccine card," she explained. But I already knew.

When I got my first shot, in late February, I sat in the mandatory waiting area, holding my new card in one hand and my wallet in the other, trying to understand why the two objects weren't compatible. I contemplated where I should put this brand-new golden ticket, ultimately sliding the thin piece of too-large card stock into an envelope I found in my tote. I'm going to either lose this or destroy it, I thought to myself.

Indeed, I lost it—at least for a little while. Despite dutifully sliding the card into its new protective pocket after lunch with my friend, I eventually found myself tearing my apartment apart searching for it, for exactly the reasons I had feared: It was the wrong size for the one place where most people keep all their important everyday documents, and of too nebulous a purpose to sit safely in a drawer with my birth certificate and passport. Could it unlock some sort of privileges at the airport? Were restaurants going to check it? Did I need to take it to medical appointments? My card had gotten shuffled into a sandwich baggie filled with extra masks, not to be rediscovered for six weeks.

With all due respect to our country's overworked and undersupported public-health apparatus: This is dumb. The card is dumb, and it's difficult to imagine a series of intentional decisions that could have reasonably led to it as the consensus best pick. Its strangeness had been a bit less important in the past seven months, when evidence of immunity was rarely necessary to do things within America. Now, as Delta-variant cases surge and more municipalities and private businesses begin to require proof of vaccination to patronize places such as restaurants and gyms, the rubber has met the road on this flimsy de facto verification apparatus. It's not the highest-stakes question of this stage of the pandemic, but it's one that's become quite common: How did we end up with these cards?

What size are the COVID-19 vaccine ID cards in other (non-USA) countries?

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  • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday August 24 2021, @08:08PM (1 child)

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday August 24 2021, @08:08PM (#1170492)

    all the boxes they were given

    The beauty of "need to know" information compartmentalization.

    Of course the decision makes sense to the person who made it. Considering the needs of the government workers and maybe health care providers before the needs of the citizens is definitely on-brand. And being on a standard Avery size is _probably_ a sign that they're not attempting to funnel money somewhere inappropriate, which certainly happens in government printing programs everywhere all the time.

    Anyone who didn't twig on the concept that this vaccine card was going to instantly become a virtual passport is certainly obtuse enough to qualify for civil service. I mean: what do you have to show to enroll your kids in school? What have the cruise ships been demanding for months? Not to mention Canada... if the oh-so-polite Canadians are insisting, it's going to become universal. My office announced last Friday that as of Sept. 30 we're going to have to show one to enter the building - I think I'll just hold any meetings I need in the parking lot, at safe distances, thank you.

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  • (Score: 2) by dry on Friday August 27 2021, @04:28AM

    by dry (223) on Friday August 27 2021, @04:28AM (#1171329) Journal

    I believe it is an app that Canada uses for the border, though I guess to get registered with the app means proving you're vaccinated so the card would be needed.
    While on the topic, my vaccination card is the usual wallet size, only used it so far for my 2nd shot and most of us are registered with our health number. My Province (BC) is bringing in a vaccine passport, sounds like a QR code on your phone with something else for those without a phone, combined with ID. Polling shows about 80% of Canadians are in favour of some kind of a vaccine passport to some degree.