New York Announces Vaccine Passport Program

Written by Carmine Sabia

OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion

One of the things that many people were frightened of happening in response to the pandemic has just begun.

The state of New York, and its beleaguer Gov. Andrew Cuomo, have announced what is tantamount to a vaccine passport, determining who will be allowed into public events, ABC 7 News reported.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday announced the launch of Excelsior Pass, a free and voluntary platform developed in partnership with IBM that utilizes secure technology to confirm an individual’s recent negative PCR or antigen test result or proof of vaccination.

The goal is to help fast track the reopening of businesses and event venues in accordance with state Department of Health guidelines.

Similar to a mobile airline boarding pass, individuals will be able to either print out their pass or store it on their smartphones using the Excelsior Pass Wallet app.

Each Pass will have a secure QR code, which participating businesses and venues can scan using a companion app to verify proof of COVID-19 negative test results or proof of vaccination.

The state says that the information will be kept confidential and secure and it stressed that the program is voluntary.

But examine how voluntary it is. No, you do not have to participate, but you are likely not going to be allowed into many restaurants, sporting events, concerts, plays, museums or any public gathering if you do not have it.

“New Yorkers have proven they can follow public health guidance to beat back COVID, and the innovative Excelsior Pass is another tool in our new toolbox to fight the virus while allowing more sectors of the economy to reopen safely and keeping personal information secure,” the governor said in a press release. “The question of ‘public health or the economy’ has always been a false choice — the answer must be both. As more New Yorkers get vaccinated each day and as key public health metrics continue to regularly reach their lowest rates in months, the first-in-the-nation Excelsior Pass heralds the next step in our thoughtful, science-based reopening.”

Major businesses and venues, such as Madison Square Garden beginning next week and the Times Union Center in Alban,  have already announced that they will be participating in the new program.

Yes, it is voluntary in the way breathing air is voluntary. You do not have to do it but you re not going to have much fun if you choose not to.

“IBM is proud to support the State of New York with its efforts to apply innovative technologies to help residents and communities respond to COVID-19. In choosing a flexible and accessible tool that places security and privacy at its core, the state is modeling for the rest of the country how new, technology-enabled approaches can help safely reinvigorate economies while also striving to protect public health,” General Manager, IBM Public and Federal Markets, Steve LaFleche said.

Opinion: We get that some people will choose to get vaccinated while many will not. That is what our nation is built on, personal choice.

When one thinks about it from a Biblical standpoint, how far is this from “the mark?”

The Bible says of the mark “And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”

No, we are not saying the vaccine or this program are the mark. But how much further can one go before you arrive at that point?

How much further can government push you to accept something, that could go on to be something used around the world, before you actually arrive at the mark?

For those of us who are Christian we see the writing on the wall at what looks like it could be a precursor to the ultimate goal.

“Don’t think for a moment that you will ever see what you used to take for granted. You will never see freedom to do whatever you want. Track and tax is here. Mark of the beast, tagged like animals, call it what you want. You’re now considered livestock. Now, back to your pen,” Lionel (real name Michael William Lebron) said on Saturday.