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Big Apple is Watching

Users will soon be able to prove their vaccine status with a QR code in Apple Wallet, but don't worry, this isn't a vaccine passport.

The vaccine passport alarmists were wrong, and thank goodness. Turns out you will not have to carry around a state-issued identification card to prove your purity, because big Apple is already working with big pharma to make a digital one. Praise God for the free market.

About a month ago, The American Conservative‘s Helen Andrews drew attention to a snarky tweet from a senior member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, in which the bureaucrat insinuated a more standardized, coordinated effort was in the works to verify Americans’ vaccine status. A vaccine card is too easily fabricated, some have argued, so someone should find an invulnerable way to verify your status in the new normal world order. We can’t allow scofflaws in the same places as the rest of us.

We’re in luck. Medical marginalization is finally imminent, and at least visibly, the government remains out of the picture. Last week, Apple announced that a pending iOS 15 update will include a vaccine card function for the Wallet and Health apps, presumably in collaboration with health care providers, so restaurant owners can ensure patrons’ shot status is verified by your favorite independent third party in Cupertino, California. The simple update to the software already installed on your best digital friend will allow you to upload a QR code from the physician who administered your shot straight into a convenient and cheerfully-colored app. With your personal, machine-readable code easily accessible from your iPhone or Apple Watch (everyone has one, right?), you can now enter a bar, restaurant, movie theatre, gym, or concert almost as easily as you could in the pre-Covid era. Just scan your digital papers at the door to prove you’re not a moron. Trust, but verify.

We should be grateful, really. Apple is so selfless to look out for our health and safety in this way. They took time out from preparing their 13th line of products for planned obsolescence just to make sure grandma doesn’t catch the flu. Not to mention, as a private company they’ll, by definition, be better stewards of our private health information than the federal government would, duh. The tech companies have reassured us that your personal health information is safe, and they certainly have the track record to prove their definition of “safe” is the same as yours. They’re more efficient, too, which is what really matters. Ah, the beauty of competition.

Some are concerned Apple’s move is the first step on a slippery slope that takes us far closer to China’s social credit system than any sane person would like to go. They say requiring proof of vaccination is a de facto “vaccine passport,” and that once Americans are accustomed to having to present their papers to be permitted in public, it’s a far smaller step to add other qualities—like whether your activity online meets the current standards of political correctness—to the docket that determines your fitness to engage in society.

Such claims are alarmist. This isn’t a vaccine passport; Apple is just trying to help us get out of the pandemic, and we should submit to the minor inconvenience willingly, to ensure we’re all safe. For those who still aren’t sure about the shot, they can simply go to a different restaurant—or state, or job—that doesn’t require them to show their papers. Separate but equal!

about the author

Carmel Richardson is the 2021-2022 editorial fellow at The American Conservative. She received her B.A. from Hillsdale College in political philosophy with a minor in journalism. She firmly believes that the backroads are better than the interstate, and though she currently resides in Northern Virginia, her home state will always be Tennessee.

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