The idea that people would be prohibited from boarding and traveling on a commercial aircraft unless they can show proof of having received a COVID-19 vaccine is no longer considered “fake news” or “misinformation” worthy of censorship by corporations operating social media platforms. Within the next few months, or even weeks, flying on airlines may become even more problematic and invasive of our privacy than it has been since the 9/11 terrorist attacks began negatively transforming the experience of air travel for passengers.
Airlines Prepare to Ask for “Immunity Passports”
Australia’s national carrier Qantas Airways will likely be the first airline to require international travelers to show proof they have been vaccinated against the SARS-CoV-2 virus that can cause COVID-19 symptoms before boarding its aircraft. In a television interview last month, Qantas’ CEO Alan Joyce acknowledged:
We are looking at changing our terms of conditions to say, for international travelers, that we will ask people to have a vaccination before they can come on the aircraft. Whether you’ll need that domestically, we’ll have to see what happens with COVID-19 in America, but certainly for international visitors coming out and people leaving the country, we think that’s a necessity.1 2 3 4
In April 2020, the CEO of Delta Air Lines, Ed Bastion, said, “We will make whatever changes to the business model that will be necessary.”5 6 This may include asking passengers to present “immunity passports” if required by the U.S. government.
“If it turns out immunity passports will be a new form… You think about everything that came out of 9/11 with TSA and homeland security and new public agencies. Could there be a new public health agency coming out that requires a new passport to travel? We’ll be on the forefront of all those advances,” Bastion said.5 6
In a recent article in The Vaccine Reaction, Rishma Parpia reported that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced on Nov. 23 that it would soon complete development a “digital passport” known as The IATA Travel Pass mobile application that would display SARS-CoV-2 test results and proof of COVID-19 vaccination. The app would also list national entry rules and details of the nearest testing laboratories in various countries.1
According to The Associated Press, Jill Chung, a spokesperson for South Korea’s largest airline, Korea Air, said it was a real possibility that airlines would require passengers to be vaccinated against COVID-19. But Chung noted that such a decision is not something airlines should make independently but, rather, in coordination with national governments.7 Air New Zealand has taken a similar position, stating:
Ultimately, it’s up to governments to determine when and how it is safe to reopen borders and we continue to work closely with authorities on this.7
“The question is whether airlines should be the arbiters of public health policy,” says Jeffrey Kahn, PhD, MPH, director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics in Baltimore, Maryland. “I’m sure they would do it if they were required to as part of public health, but that would require a federal approach to the pandemic. We haven’t had that.”8
Proof of Vaccination is Not the Same as Evidence of Immunity
Perhaps the more central question, however, may be whether COVID-19 vaccines will prevent spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus or only reduce the potential for a vaccinated person to suffer a severe case of COVID-19 that leads to permanent health problems or death. If the vaccine does not prevent SARS-Cov-2 infection and spread of infection, it serves no purpose for the airline industry to require proof of vaccination for passengers to board a plane under the guise of guaranteeing that vaccinated persons will not spread the virus to other passengers.8
Asked whether the messenger RNA (mRNA) COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer, Inc. (and its German partner BioNTech SE) and Moderna, Inc. will prevent people from becoming infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus and transmitting it to others, the companies and medical professionals admit they do not know yet.9 10 11
“These COVID vaccines are preventing clinical disease, we don’t know if they prevent transmission,” says infectious disease epidemiologist Chris Beyrer, MD of the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. “What’s being measured in the [human clinical] trials is whether or not they prevent disease, mild, moderate and severe disease,” explains William John Moss, MD, director of the International Vaccine Access Center at the Bloomberg School.9 10 11
Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has all but admitted that the COVID-19 vaccines are not designed to prevent infection with and transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. He has stated that preventing symptoms of COVID-19 is the “primary endpoint” of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. In Dr. Fauci’s view, getting rid of SARS-CoV-2 is a “secondary endpoint.”12 13
NVIC Long Predicted Travel Restrictions for Refusing Vaccines
Nonetheless, it appears this scenario of conditioning air travel to one’s willingness to get vaccinated will be played out sooner rather than later. It is hard to believe, but there are a few people who have seen and warned it was coming for decades. In 1993, for example, Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), began declaring in her public speeches that the day would come when Americans would be penalized with travel restrictions for refusing to get government recommended and state mandated vaccines.
In 1999, Fisher wrote:
Being tagged and tracked in a government-operated electronic surveillance database could lead to severe economic and other government-sanctioned punishments at the hands of health officials assigned police powers to “protect the public health.” Citizens who do not, for example, comply with government mandates to use an AIDS vaccine when it is brought to market in the future could effectively be prevented from functioning in society by being denied an education, health insurance, a driver’s license, employment or even admission to a hospital, hotel or airplane.14
In 2010, Fisher wrote:
Who will be threatened and punished next for refusing a flu shot? The answer is YOU, me, and every American. We are next in line because when doctors trade in their white coats for military uniforms, going after their own is just the first step on the road to going after the rest of us. If this latest power grab is allowed to set precedent in America, the only question in the future will be: how many vaccines will we be forced to take or lose our jobs, our health insurance, our right to enter a hospital, or receive medical care, or get on a plane, or check into a hotel if we can’t prove we have gotten vaccinated?15
In 2015, Fisher wrote:
Will laws be passed to not only deny you a public education but prevent you from obtaining health insurance; entering a doctor’s office, hospital or retirement home; boarding a bus, plane or train; buying a ticket for a movie or football game; shopping in a store, getting a driver’s license, filing your taxes or otherwise participating in and moving freely in society unless you show proof you have gotten every government recommended vaccine?16
And just last year, in a speech given at the Vaccine Injury Epidemic Event (VIE) on the National Mall in Washington, DC, Fisher said:
Science is not perfect, doctors are not infallible, and vaccines carry unpredictable risks that are greater for some people. If we do not get up off our knees and stop worshipping scientists and doctors who have too little knowledge and have been given too much power, tomorrow we will not be able to get on a bus, train or plane; enter a store or sports arena; obtain a driver’s license or passport, file our taxes or function in society without getting every vaccine that industry creates and the government orders us to get.17
Can you get any more prescient than this?
Click here to view References:
1 Parpia R. Airline Industry Develops “Travel Pass” to Test, Require COVID-19 Vaccinations to Fly. The Vaccine Reaction Nov. 30, 2020.
2 Brito C. Qantas CEO says airline will require passengers traveling internationally to get COVID-19 vaccine. CBS News Nov. 24, 2020.
3 Corry E. Alan Joyce says international flyers will require vaccination to fly Qantas. Nine News Nov. 23, 2020.
4 Regan H, Watson A. Qantas boss says passengers will need to be vaccinated for international flights. CNN Travel Nov. 23, 2020.
5 Kelleher SR. You Will Likely Need To Get A Covid Shot To Fly In 2021. Forbes Nov. 24, 2020.
6 Thomaselli R. Delta CEO On Board With ‘Immunity Passports’. Travel Pulse Apr. 25, 2020.
7 The Associated Press. International travellers may need COVID-19 vaccines before they can board some airlines. CBC Nov. 24, 2020
8 Toussaint K. Will you need a COVID-19 vaccine to fly?. Fast Company Nov. 24, 2020.
9 Gregory M. VERIFY: Will the COVID-19 vaccine stop you from spreading it to others? Experts don’t know yet. WUSA9 Nov. 20, 2020.
10 Gregory M. VERIFY: Moderna, Pfizer vaccines may prevent disease, but not infection. WUSA9 Nov. 19, 2020.
11 Editorial. COVID-19 vaccines: no time for complacency. The Lancet Nov. 21, 2020; 396(10263): P1607.
12 Crist C. Early Vaccines Will Prevent Symptoms, Not Virus. WebMD Oct. 28, 2020.
13 Kropff A. Dr. Fauci discusses what we do and don’t know about coronavirus vaccines so far. 10 Tampa Bay Nov. 19, 2020.
14 Fisher BL. The National Electronic Vaccine Tracking Registry. NVIC Newsletter July 1999.
15 Fisher BL. Forcing Flu Shots on Health Care Workers: Who Is Next? NVIC Newsletter Sept. 29, 2010.
16 Fisher BL. The Vaccine Culture War in America: Are You Ready? NVIC Newsletter Mar. 8, 2015.
17 Fisher BL. Witnessing The Vaccine Injury Epidemic. NVIC Newsletter Nov. 19, 2019.