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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawIs Discussion Of Thai "Vaccine Passports" Becoming More Orwellian?

Is Discussion Of Thai "Vaccine Passports" Becoming More Orwellian?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing "vaccine passports". I was hesitant to make this video for a number of different reasons mostly because I don't want my position on a personal level to be misconstrued. I also understand that there is a lot of discussion going on right now with respect to the concept of "Vaccine Passports" and it can get rather heated depending on the sectors you get into on the internet or just in society and what people think on this topic. It can cause a lot of polarization and a lot of consternation.

The purpose of this video is not really to fan those flames. There were a number of different articles that I have read here in the past roughly a week, 10 days on the overall topic and then on top of that I literally had no less than four different people in multiple different mediums, so either through email, talking to folks in person, comments on the channel etc., social media who asked me point blank at multiple different times, paraphrasing but to one degree or another and they specifically use the term “Orwell” or "Orwellian" when describing these "Vaccine Passports" and they specifically asked me my thoughts, “do I think it is kind of an Orwellian thing” and again multiple different people. I am always a believer in the adage that "coincidence is God winking at you", so I decided to go ahead and make this video mostly to act as a roundup for all the talk on vaccine passports here recently.

So let's go ahead and start with the print edition of the Bangkok Post. This is on Wednesday March 3rd, 2021, the print edition. The title of the article is: Prayut Orders Study into COVID Passports. I am going to quote a couple of portions here directly. Quoting: "He admitted that so far no conclusion has been reached that would guarantee that the COVID-19 passport system would be effective when implemented at the international level." We will get into this a little bit more but there are two elements to this overall discussion. One is in an international travel context which we have tried on this channel to keep our narration on this overall topic or discussion on this theme, on that main point. We are we are going to be a little bit outside of that specific lane momentarily because there is some nuance on this that I want to get into as it pertains to how this could have a broader impact. Quoting further: "The COVID-19 passport idea has been reported to have critics especially among physicians and rights groups who questioned the efficacy of the vaccines and whether or not they would be able to totally protect people against COVID-19." I thought this was interesting that they brought this up, rights groups etc. On top of just the efficacy issues, I have seen a lot of people that are just talking generally about notions of privacy, travel rights, freedom, notions of due process and liberty. Not to get too deep into that again but it is an interesting topic this "vaccine passport" because it really touches on a lot of different things: the issue of the efficacy of the vaccine; the issue of travel, how we travel, the administration of travel etc. Quoting further, again from Bangkok Post, print edition. The article is titled: Prayut Orders Study into COVID Passports. Quoting further: "The National Committee on Communicable Diseases will discuss the COVID-19 vaccination passport on Monday, he said." So this specific article is talking about this in a more narrow context of travel and as we have discussed on this channel, vaccination requirements are not an unheard of thing in the context of international travel. Now reasonable people can disagree about whether or not they should be required or whether or not they are necessary and I am not going to get into that that is not my point. The purpose of this video is we are talking about the issue of vaccination documentation; again that is not unheard of. Different places especially in the past, Thailand for example had different requirements that folks had to or were strongly recommended to have been inoculated against certain diseases. Again that has been around. Really it is kind of interesting because it seems like in the early to mid-90s that seemed to fall into disuse with the exception of different regions of the world, but the notion of these inoculation requirements being rather ubiquitous they kind of fell by the wayside, and now in this current circumstances kind of coming back if you will.

That said, this print edition of the Bangkok Post this article is narrowly discussing the issue of travel documents more than just documentation pertaining to the vaccine itself. Then, and I thought this was interesting, this is from The article is titled: Foreigners Should be FORCED to Have a COVID-19 Vaccination - and They Should Pay for it, Thai Poll. Quoting directly: "A NIDA poll conducted last week in Thailand revealed that nearly half, (and I think this interesting}, nearly half of Thais think that foreigners should be forced to have a COVID-19 vaccination. Less than a third thought foreigners should have any choice in the matter." First off, I always remember, again I want to bring this up. I am trying to take a middle path here in looking at this overall topic because I think on one side people get very worked up about it and I can understand why, and I can understand the people that have their own concerns that perhaps there should be some documentation. There are reasonable arguments to be had on both sides. The reason I am citing this, and I am not trying to call Thai Visa to task or anything. There is a lot in this article and I am just pointing out one thing but they said "a NIDA poll conducted last week in Thailand revealed that nearly half of Thais". Nearly half, so not a majority of Thais think that foreigners should be forced to have a COVID-19 vaccination. So clearly, there is some sensationalism going on on one side of this. In one section of the cacophony on this overall topic while and I will get into this in a bit, there is a little bit of in my opinion perhaps, I hesitate to use the term hysteria, but lack of reflection from other sectors of the discussion on this. So I thought that was interesting. We have got this stuff talking about "oh could foreigners be forced to get a vaccination?" and again they are citing a poll. Every time I hear from polls I think of Teddy Roosevelt's quote: "They are lies, damn lies and statistics," and you know so that poll, it sounds very sensational: "Oh, foreigners being forced to get a vaccination." Well the majority of Thais, according to this article, at least the first sentence, no they don't actually. The majority of Thais don't feel that way, nearly half of Thais feel perhaps that way and again "who was polled?" "how many people were polled?" all good questions, not within the scope of this.

Going a little farther afield and again one side of this can get a little bit overly overwrought and then other sides of this can get overwrought. In a recent article from Zero Hedge,, the article was titled: “A New World Altogether" - Global Airlines set to "Go Live in March” with COVID ‘Passports’. Quoting directly: "During a Wednesday press conference, the International Air Transport Associations said that they would roll out a new travel app called Travel Pass to manage COVID-19 tests and vaccine certifications. IATA is the premier global trade organization for airlines with 290 members." We have discussed that in some length in other videos on this channel where we discuss so called "Common Pass", "Immunity Passports", "Vaccine Passports" and this internationalized, centralized uniform if you will, platform to communicate this information in a travel context. They go into some hyperbole there in that article. I am not going to get into that directly but again it is worth noting there are a lot of different viewpoints on this and there are varying degrees of again I don't like using pejorative terms but passions get inflamed on all sides of this overall issue.

Then we come to this article and this was again and they are actually quoting The Standard which was written in the Thai language but this was interesting. The title of this article again A Passport to go to the Bar? "Intriguing possibility of "vaccine passport" to visit entertainment venues in Thailand." This is where "the rubber hits the road" if you will in my opinion with respect to where things get weird with respect to the notion of "vaccine passports" because you are getting out away from the specific issue of international travel which in the context of international travel, I think there is a lot of room for discussion. Reasonable people can agree or disagree on how best to deal especially in pandemic situations with things but when you are talking about domestic issues, it becomes far more for lack of a better term, the possibility for less than optimal usage of this technology, it becomes more readily apparent. But again, how likely is it? That really should be the question. Quoting directly: "It may not be only international travel that is affected by plans being mulled and put into place in several countries “vaccine passports.” Quoting further: "They may have an impact on what people can do with these domestically. Thai news site, the Standard, rounded up the latest situation regarding "vaccine passports". Now the latest situation, as Prayuth pointed out himself, at a government level they haven't even made any concrete steps on this. So let's just everybody take a breath on all sides of this before we start presuming that things are going to be happening in any direction. Quoting further: "But as they pointed out the so-called vaccine passport is not just for international movement. Such a document could be mandated to enter places where large numbers of people congregate in close proximity. That would mean the "entertainment industry, and sporting events" as the Standard pointed out”. Quoting further: "It might be necessary to hold a document to go to a pub, beer bar or disco in the future." Now again, all of this concerns me, at least on a personal level. I don't really like getting into personal opinions on this channel but I am going to go ahead and do it. We occasionally do opinion pieces on here so I am going to go ahead and do it on this one. All of this is concerning to me. I am concerned about the pandemic and the ramifications associated with that but I am also concerned about the right to travel, due process. It is eerie to me the notion that one has to have any kind of document to just go about their business, day to day business within a given day or to go enjoy themselves. However, I do understand that certain things have to be balanced. That stated, I don't think it helps anybody if any side of this raises passions to a fever pitch based on facts not in evidence. That is an objection that is brought up sometimes in court. They say that “those facts are not in evidence”. You are just bringing up something that we have no proof of and again as yet Thai authorities have not really made any major decisions on this but you would think that tomorrow this is going to be implemented.

That said, things moved very quickly at the beginning of the COVID outbreak and the pandemic and we saw Governments take action with a great deal of alacrity, far more alacrity, far more speed than I think people really thought was possible. So it is certainly all of food for thought but exactly where this leads remains to be seen and I hope people maintain their sense of reason and try to come to the most optimal solution for everyone involved.