The Backfiring Strategy to Make COVID Vaccines 'Cool' | Opinion

Vaccine passports are here and they pose a dangerous slippery slope. At the same time, there's a foolish attempt to make vaccinations "cool"—a PR strategy promoted by desperate vaccinated progressives in double masks. Both of these trends reveal there's still no good national strategy to address the vaccine-hesitant.

In Washington state, where I live, we are now using "vaccine passports." Businesses are slowly getting the green light to use them for vaccinated-only sections at events, and colleges are mandating COVID vaccines for otherwise healthy college students.

Once dismissed as a conspiracy theory, the use of vaccine passports is spreading. Are they here to stay?

Under Governor Jay Inslee, certain venues may enforce vaccinated-only sections at outdoor events. The first sporting event to announce such sections was the Tacoma Rainiers, a minor league baseball team. The Seattle Mariners and Seattle Sounders followed suit.

Vaccinated ticket holders enter through a separate entrance and sit in a separate section. They do not have to social distance while seated, though they inexplicably still have to wear masks, despite outdoor spread amongst vaccinated people being near impossible.

Under Inslee's guidelines, you must show your vaccine passport upon request. It can include photos of your vaccination card, but the documents must prove full vaccination status. Remember the days when showing ID was racist? Or when vaccine access was a question of equity? Democrats don't seem to.

Under most circumstances, students will have no choice at either public or private colleges but to submit their vaccine paperwork. The University of Washington and Pacific Lutheran University, a public and private school respectively, mandate that students get a vaccine before returning to campus. Curiously, neither require staff to vaccinate, even though they are in the demographic most at risk of severe complications due to COVID.

Students and staff at a growing list of other public and private colleges must get vaccinated, too. Western Washington, Washington State, Central Washington and Evergreen College announced mandates. Eastern Washington University broke from the pack and said it would be up to the students.

Pfizer vaccine vials pictured in Paris
A picture shows vials of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Paris on May 8, 2021. MARTIN BUREAU/AFP via Getty Images

It should alarm anyone that a school—under the government's authority or not—would mandate that healthy 18-21 year olds get a vaccine when COVID impacts them the least. Even with comorbidities, that age group has a 0.1 percent chance of hospitalization, let alone death.

These passports aren't about public health. They're a matter of social currency. In this age of performative activism, many are being vaccinated not because it's the right thing to do but so they can play hero on social media. To declare they're #vaccinated on Twitter, post a selfie on Instagram and check in at a mass vaccination site on Facebook.

Like so many other social media crazes, progressives have touted their hero status for getting vaccinated, chiding others as irresponsible for not acting as selflessly as they have. They put up with the side effects; they'll tell you in meticulous detail because it will save humanity. Meanwhile, YouTube personalities produce cringe-inducing song parodies meant to convince the public to get vaccinated. Has there ever been a lamer campaign to present something as cool?

And then there's the continued worship of Dr. Anthony Fauci. Progressives hang on to his every word, treating him as a saint even as he doles out contradictory advice and constantly moves the goalposts. The idolatry is embarrassing.

In a way, these newly vaccinated evangelists are pretending it's cool, rather than necessary, to be vaccinated. And it's turning people off.

The messaging from the White House and other politicians on vaccinations is terrible. It is truly awful. By telling Americans that, even after vaccination, they won't be able to ditch the mask, officials are only discouraging people from getting the shot. Why would a young, healthy person already vaccine-hesitant give in with that messaging?

We're nearing the point where everyone who wants the vaccine will have access to it. When that time comes, it'll be on the individual to take personal responsibility. If you want it, get it. If you need it due to a vulnerability, get it. If you want it to be extra careful, have it. If you'd like it for your vaccine selfie, more power to you.

But we're adults. It's time to let adults make up their minds. It's one thing to shut things down when there were no treatments or vaccines. That's not the reality any longer. Introducing vaccine passports as a way to circumvent personal responsibility should be rejected. The government had no right to mandate these personal medical choices. And if we give them this, just to enter a stadium, where does it end?

Jason Rantz is a frequent guest on Fox News and is the host of the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH Seattle, heard weekday afternoons. You can subscribe to his podcast here and follow him on Twitter: @jasonrantz.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.