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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: 1, Troll) by fliptop on Wednesday August 25 2021, @03:32AM (2 children)

    by fliptop (1666) on Wednesday August 25 2021, @03:32AM (#1170641) Journal

    Where do I get a QR code if I've already been infected and have natural immunity?

    Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 25 2021, @03:58AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 25 2021, @03:58AM (#1170653)

      Immunity acquired for free doesn't count. Pfizer, Moderna, and the rest HAVE TO GET PAID. Do you hate free enterprise?

    • (Score: 2) by KritonK on Wednesday August 25 2021, @06:36AM

      by KritonK (465) on Wednesday August 25 2021, @06:36AM (#1170688)

      If you are asking about what happens in the EU, then there are two alternatives:

      If you got treated by a doctor or at a hospital, in which case you are registered in the health system as having been treated for COVID-19, then there is a digital certificate for that, which is acceptable wherever vaccination certificates are required. This is valid for six months after getting infected. After six months, you must get vaccinated with a single dose of the vaccine; getting infected acts as the first dose. The certificate-checking app has three possible values for the vaccination status: vaccinated, infected within the last six months, and unvaccinated.

      If you simply stayed at home until you got better, so that the health system doesn't know about it, you have to get fully vaccinated with two doses. I suspect that this is equivalent to getting three doses of the vaccine, which some countries are already starting to do, giving you even stronger immunity, so consider this as a bonus.

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