During a Pandemic, Rights Aren't Just for Individuals

3 min read
The vaccine rollout creates dilemmas that, in America's legalistic culture, are difficult to solve.
Read: Inside the mind of an anti-vaxxer

These scenarios are not chimerical. Israel, which leads the world in vaccinations per capita, has instituted a "green passport" system, whereby those who have been vaccinated or have recovered from infection will be able to visit theaters, hotels, houses of worship, and other public spaces that will remain out of reach for the unvaccinated. A number of private firms have been working on creating a global certificate that can be used to similar ends around the world. (Naturally, German already has a word, impfneid, meaning "envy of the vaccinated.")

In the United States, some businesses have begun subjecting vaccinated and unvaccinated employees to different COVID-19 testing protocols. In late spring and summer, when a majority of Americans will likely have received shots, the pressure on government agencies and private companies to widen the gap between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated will intensify.

The benefit to a safe reopening is significant, but so too is the harm to those left behind. Vaccine hesitancy has been dropping, but it will never reach zero. A small but nontrivial number of Americans generally believe that vaccines are…
Jamal Greene
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