A coalition of big tech companies, including Microsoft is developing a COVID passport, with the expectation that a digital document linked to vaccination status will be required to travel and get access to basic services.
The group is calling itself the Vaccination Credential Initiative (VCI), and includes Microsoft, Salesforce and Oracle.
The US health provider Mayo Clinic is also involved in the project, which is being described as “the most significant vaccination effort in the history of the United States.”
The idea is now a familiar one. Anyone who has been vaccinated will receive a QR code that can be stored on their mobile phone in the wallet app. Those without phones will have access to a printed version.
“The goal of the Vaccination Credential Initiative is to empower individuals with digital access to their vaccination records,” said Paul Meyer, CEO of non-profit The Commons Project, also involved in the project.
Meyer said that the document will allow people “to safely return to travel, work, school, and life, while protecting their data privacy.”
Meyer said the coalition is working with several governments, and expects standards to be adopted that will see mandatory negative tests or proof of vaccination, in order to re-engage in society.
“Individuals are going to need to have to produce vaccination records for a lot of aspects of getting back to life as normal,” he added. “We live in a globally connected world. We used to anyway — and we hope to again.”
The Rockefeller Foundation has previously touted its plans for a ‘Covid-19 data and commons digital platform’ as well as a desire to “launch a Covid Community Healthcare Corps for testing and contact tracing.”
“Coordination of such a massive program should be treated as a wartime effort,” the foundation states on its website, adding that there should be “a public/private bipartisan Pandemic Testing Board established to assist and serve as a bridge between local, state, and federal officials with the logistical, investment and political challenges this operation will inevitably face.”
The group also wants to see a global standardisation of the so called vaccine passports, noting that “The current vaccination record system does not readily support convenient access, control and sharing of verifiable vaccination records.”
The coalition of big tech firms is looking to “customize all aspects of the vaccination management lifecycle and integrate closely with other coalition members’ offerings, which will help us all get back to public life,” said Bill Patterson, an executive vice president at Salesforce.
“With a single platform to help deliver safe and continuous operations and deepen trust with customers and employees, this coalition will be crucial to support public health and wellbeing,” Patterson claimed.
Mike Sicilia, executive vice president of Oracle’s Global Business Units added that “This process needs to be as easy online banking. We are committed to working collectively with the technology and medical communities, as well as global governments.”
Ken Mayer, founder and CEO of Safe Health also stated that the VCI “will enable application developers to create privacy-preserving health status verification solutions that can be seamlessly integrated into existing ticketing workflows.”
Put more simply, it will “help get concerts and sporting events going again,” Mayer said.
The context seems clear. Those without the COVID passport will not be allowed to travel or engage in social events.
As we reported last month, the IATA, the world’s largest air transport lobby group, expects its COVID travel pass app to be fully rolled out in the first months of 2021.
A further ‘COVID passport’ app called the AOKpass from travel security firm International SOS is currently undergoing trials between Abu Dhabi and Pakistan.
We have exhaustively documented the privacy and rights concerns associated with the move toward adoption, and more importantly the global standardisation of so called COVID passports.
UK based human rights group Privacy International has warned that if “immunity” passports are issued by some governments, it could signal a creep toward “digital identity schemes” and other mandatory ID schemes.
“Once you have multiple uses (e.g. access to services) in multiple domains (i.e. public sector, private sector), in multiple countries (i.e. travel), then we are approaching a global identity document needed to live your life,” the group warned.
Sweden based human rights group The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) warned recently that 61 per cent of countries have used COVID restrictions “that were concerning from a democracy and human rights perspective.”
Anna Beduschi, an academic from Exeter University, commented on the potential move toward vaccine passports by EU, noting that it “poses essential questions for the protection of data privacy and human rights.”
Beduschi added that the vaccine passports may “create a new distinction between individuals based on their health status, which can then be used to determine the degree of freedoms and rights they may enjoy.”
The EU’s own data protection chief Wojciech Wiewiórowski recently labeled the idea of an immunity passport “extreme” and has repeatedly said it is alarming, and ‘disgusting’.
A report compiled last year by AI research body the Ada Lovelace Institute said so called ‘immunity’ passports “pose extremely high risks in terms of social cohesion, discrimination, exclusion and vulnerability.”
Sam Grant, campaign manager at the civili liberties advocacy group Liberty has warned that “any form of immunity passport risks creating a two-tier system in which some of us have access to freedoms and support while others are shut out.”
“These systems could result in people who don’t have immunity potentially being blocked from essential public services, work or housing – with the most marginalised among us hardest hit,” Grant further warned.
“This has wider implications too because any form of immunity passport could pave the way for a full ID system – an idea which has repeatedly been rejected as incompatible with building a rights-respecting society,” Grant further urged.
Gloria Guevara, CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), has also slammed the passports as “discriminatory”, saying “We should never require the vaccination to get a job or to travel.”
Speaking at a Reuters event, the head of the WTTC also condemned airline Qantas for their previous assertion that unvaccinated people would not be allowed on their aircraft.
“It will take a significant amount of time to vaccinate the global population, particularly those in less advanced countries, or in different age groups, therefore we should not discriminate against those who wish to travel but have not been vaccinated,” Guevara noted.
Nevertheless, the spectre of so called ‘immunity passports’ is looming globally.
As noted above, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has penned a letter to EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, demanding that the Commission should ‘standardise’ a vaccine passport across all member countries, and that it should be required for people to travel throughout the area, further outlining that “Persons who have been vaccinated should be free to travel.”
The request is set to be debated in the coming days.
Vaccine passports have previously been touted by the EU, with officials suggesting back in April that visa applicants would also be required to be vaccinated.
Denmark recently announced that it is rolling out a ‘Covid passport’, to allow those who have taken the vaccine to engage in society without any restrictions.
Poland has also announced plans to introduce vaccine passports, which will allow those who have taken the COVID shot greater freedoms than those who have not.
Having left the EU, Britain would not be part of any standardised European scheme, however it has now confirmed that it is rolling out vaccine passports, despite previous denials that it would do so.
Recently, the government in Ontario, Canada admitted that it is exploring ‘immunity passports’ in conjunction with restrictions on travel and access to social venues for the unvaccinated.
Last month, Israel announced that citizens who get the COVID-19 vaccine will be given ‘green passports’ that will enable them to attend venues and eat at restaurants.
In addition, hotels have also indicated they will do the same.
Insurers have also indicated that they will fall in line with any standardisation of vaccination passports, and may demand to see proof of vaccination before covering those wishing to go on holiday.
The international Travel and Health Insurance Journal reported that “If the EU obliges travellers to vaccinate, travel insurance providers may refuse to cover those who decline to have the vaccination.”
EU news website Schengenvisainfo also reported on the likely move by insurers, pointing out that anti-vaxxers will likely be specifically targeted by the mandates.
“Even if anti-vax travellers find a loophole in the requirement and manage to enter any of the Member States, travel insurance providers may refuse to cover them,” the report states.
It continues, “With the high volume of fake news and conspiracy theories that have been going on for months now on the pandemic and vaccination, the real challenge for the EU will not be to purchase the necessary vaccine doses, but rather to convince people to be vaccinated.”
The report adds that “Conspiracy theorists, in Europe and further in the world, have targeted Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who is known as a supporter of vaccination, claiming he is responsible for the Coronavirus pandemic.”
While surveys have indicated that around half the people in the world are not willing to take the vaccine at this stage. However, a recent poll has indicated that 74% of Americans say they are willing to get a COVID vaccination passport, should they be introduced in the U.S.
Massive Peer-Reviewed Mask Study Shows ‘Little To No Difference’ In Preventing COVID, Flu Infection
A massive international research collaboration that analyzed several dozen rigorous studies focusing on “physical interventions” against COVID-19 and influenza found that they provide little to no protection against infection or illness rates.
The study, published in the peer-reviewed Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, is the strongest science to date refuting the basis for mask mandates worldwide.
And of course, the CDC still recommends masking in areas with “high” rates of transmission (fewer than 4% of US counties, as Just the News notes), along with indoor masking in areas with “medium” rates of transmission (27%).
Masks are still required in educational institutions in Democratic strongholds such as New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Washington and California, according to the Daily Mail. Boston Public Schools denied its “temporary masking protocol” in early January was a “mandate,” following a public letter against the policy by student Enrique Abud Evereteze.
South Korea is still requiring masks on public transport and in medical facilities after dropping COVID mandates in most indoor settings, including gyms, Monday, Reuters reported. -Just the News
According to the Cochrane study, which included the work of researchers at institutions in the U.K., Canada, Australia, Italy and Saudi Arabia, a total of 78 studies were analyzed. Most recent additions to the meta-analysis were 11 new randomized controlled trials.
As unlisted study author Carl Heneghan – who directs the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford noted on Twitter: “Wearing masks in the community probably makes little or no difference to the outcome of influenza‐like illness (ILI)/COVID‐19 like illness compared to not wearing masks.”
The Danish study had trouble finding a major journal willing to publish its controversial findings that wearing surgical masks had no statistically significant effect on infection rates, even among those who claimed to wear them “exactly as instructed.”
Mainstream media overlooked red flags in the Bangladeshi mask study, which found no effect for surgical masks under age 50 and a difference of only 20 infections between control and treatment groups among 342,000 adults. -JTN
Bottom line, mask wearing “probably makes little to no difference,” when it comes to influenza-like or COVID-like illnesses, regardless of type of mask used.
We’re sure the cult of Fauci will now start insisting peer-reviewed meta-analyses aren’t ‘the science.’This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
Australian Health Authorities Call For More COVID Boosters… But The Public Says No
Australia and New Zealand suffered some of the worst pandemic mandate conditions of any country in the western world, crossing the line into totalitarianism on a number of occasions.
Australian authorities restricted residents of larger cities to near house arrest, with people not being allowed to go more than 3 miles from their homes. Citizens were given curfew hours between 9pm and 5am. They were banned from public parks and beaches without a mask, even though it is nearly impossible to transmit a virus outdoors and UV light from the sun acts as a natural disinfectant.
In the worst examples, Australian citizens received visits from police and government officials for posting critical opinions about the mandates on social media. Some were even arrested for calling for protests against the lockdowns. In Australia and New Zealand, covid camps were built to detain people infected with covid. Some facilities were meant for those who had recently traveled, others were meant for anyone who stepped out of line.
As the fears over covid wane and the populace realizes that the true Infection Fatality Rate of the virus is incredibly small, restrictions are being abandoned and things seems to be going back to normal. It’s important, however, to never forget what happened and how many countries faced potentially permanent authoritarianism under the shadow of vaccine passports. If the passports rules had been successfully enforced, we would be living in a very different world today in the west.
Luckily, the passports were never implemented widely. Australian health authorities are once again calling for the public to take a fourth covid booster shot, but with very little response. Only 40% of citizens took the third booster, and new polling data shows that 30% are taking the fourth booster.
With an astonishing rise in excess deaths by heart failure in Australia coinciding exactly with the introduction of the covid mRNA vaccines, perhaps people are deciding to finally er on the side of caution. Why take the risk of an experimental vaccine over a virus that 99.8% of the population will easily survive?This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
NIH Failed To Monitor EcoHealth Alliance: Federal Watchdog
After an 18-month audit, a federal watchdog says that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) failed to adequately monitor and address problems involving EcoHealth Alliance, a New York City-based nonprofit that was used to offshore risky gain-of-function research to Wuhan, China after the Obama administration banned the practice in 2014.
According to the report from the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the “NIH did not effectively monitor or take timely action to address” compliance issues with EcoHealth.
In April 2020, after then-President Donald Trump claimed the SARS-CoV-2 virus could have come from the WIV lab, NIH terminated the EcoHealth grant with little explanation. That step was widely condemned by scientists, and OIG’s report now says NIH improperly executed the termination because it did not provide a valid reason or provide EcoHealth with required information for appealing the decision.
A few months later, NIH reinstated the award but immediately suspended it, setting conditions for resumption that EcoHealth said it could not meet. NIH permanently terminated the WIV subaward as of August 2022 for compliance issues, including WIV’s failure to provide NIH with laboratory notebooks related to the funded experiments. –Science
The audit examined the above grant, as well as two others from 2014 to 2021 which totaled $8 million, but largely focused on $600,000 of it which went to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The NIH faulted EcoHealth for failing to promptly report gain-of-function results in some experiments, however the company has blamed a computer glitch at NIH for the 2-year delay.
Digging into the report is US Right to Know’s Emily Kopp, who has broken down various aspects of the OIG report.
Meanwhile, the audit also found that the nonprofit billed NIH for $89,171 in disallowed costs, including expenses such as alcohol, and a staffer’s $3,285 trip to a conference that was miscoded, and should have instead been billed to a non-NIH grant.
The OIG recommends that the WIV (but not EcoHealth) be banned from receiving future NIH funds.
Meanwhile, EcoHealth just scored a fresh $3 million grant from the Department of Defense.This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
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