Vaccine Passport: Stop Crying, Get Your Shot

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When I was growing up in the 1950s, those boring, golden years between the unmitigated glory of World War II and the current mass hysteria we call modern life, my father had a veritable library of succinct phrases to suit each child-rearing challenge. At the blink of an eye, he could lapse into Autophrase Select mode and hurl one of these at me.

“You’ll eat it and you’ll like it!”

“Don’t make me come [up] [back] [down] [over] there!”

“Do [insert commanded action] or I’ll give you something to cry about!”

I’ll pretend I remember he used choice [C] when I surely cried about getting the polio vaccine around 1956. In those days, they used glass syringes about the size of a grease gun and the needle was so long, the doc had to be careful not to drive it plumb through and pin your arm to your chest. You got a cherry sucker to shut you the hell up.

Social media not being a thing then and the slippery slope to tyranny having been more of an us-against-the-Nazis just a few years prior, if I’d had the temerity to mount a reasoned, impassioned anti-vax stance, my father would have, as they say in the modern military, gone kinetic. That would be unlisted choice [D], which involved welts from a willow switch or a boxed ear. Corporal punishment was, and is, underrated. To attend school, you got vaccinated. Period. If anybody whined, they got over it.

And now comes Qantas, the Australian airline, proposing a similar strategy for passengers flying on its airplanes. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination will be required for international travel on its aircraft when the vax becomes available. They’re debating requiring this for domestic flights. Is this a good idea? Yes, in my view, it is. Does it erode your rights? Yes and no. Yes, because as a condition of service, they’re insisting you to do something you might not want to do. No because your right to fly on an airliner owned by someone else is neither protected nor absolute. I’m sure someone will sue to test that.

I suspect Qantas came to this decision in the context of Australia’s promising effort to contain the SARS CoV-2 virus. As of this week, the U.S. case rate is 38 times higher than Australia’s; the death rate in the U.S. is 23 times higher. A caveat: The data on COVID-19 infections and death rates is of questionable accuracy and reliability. But we’re working with what we’ve got.

With Qantas leading, we now pause and see if other airlines will follow. If I were guessing, I would say the Asian carriers will lead, followed by Europe. I would expect U.S. carriers to be paralyzed by the utterly polarized reaction to COVID-19 risk. This week’s AVweb poll asks if readers would favor an airline requiring the vaccination against one that did not. At the moment, it’s 41 to 35 in favor of vaccination required.

The airlines are currently in a quandary unique in their history. Passenger traffic is trickling back but at a far slower pace than they need to avoid massive restructuring. On the Sunday following Thanksgiving, 1.1 million passengers flowed through TSA checkpoints—about 39 percent of the volume of a year ago on the same day. That was cause for minor rejoicing but it might be short-lived if we see the spike in COVID prevalence public health authorities are warning about.

So what is the problem here? Everyone assumes—me included—it’s lack of confidence in COVID mitigations, such as they are, that keeps people away from the airports. To that, I would add an utter inability at almost all levels to assess realistic disease prevalence and thus risk. I still have a few friends who insist it’s all a big hoax and I don’t try to penetrate their thick skulls with whatever facts are available.

I’ve been asking airline pilot friends and recently, the flight attendant and pilot unions, for case data. Everything is anecdotal and secondhand. If formal data collection or surveillance exists, it’s not being revealed. Given the profound economic damage and death toll of this virus, this is sadly emblematic of our entire disjointed response. On the plus side, an airline friend was recently contacted by his company and told he had been exposed to a crew member with COVID. So at least some contact tracing is going on.

After months of frustration, I finally concluded that for me personally, the best risk metric is probability of hospitalization, because that data isn’t clouded by “died with or died of” fuzziness. If you need hospitalization, you may be on the way to long-term lung, heart and other debilitating effects. In Florida, so far, one in 400 residents have been hospitalized with COVID overall. For my age, it’s probably twice that so call the risk one in 200. That’s not huge, but it’s not trivial, either. It’s five times the risk of a skydiver experiencing a main parachute malfunction and having to use a reserve. It’s 500 times the rate of dying in a general aviation accident. If I could have a vaccine to reduce any of those risks, yeah, I’ll take it.

Not so long ago, when you traveled internationally, you needed to show your Carte Jaune—the yellow card showing you had all the vaccinations required of the country you were entering. It was a basic and widely accepted foundation of public health. Although the Carte Jaune is still required by some countries, most no longer require it. One reason is that the very vaccines it documented wiped out the diseases they were supposed to prevent so the risk doesn’t justify the verification.

Qantas appears to be going in that direction on its own and perhaps others will follow, at least temporarily. Want to bet they’ll get some help from countries requiring vaccination for entry? This time the Carte Jaune may be digital. Maybe an app or QR code. That raises privacy issues, but what doesn’t? Ever use Google or Facebook? If a vaccine passport gains momentum, it could be a significant earlier reset for the airlines, not to mention a boost for tourism everywhere. Since I skipped Epidemiology 101 in school, I have no sense of what herd penetration is necessary to make a difference. It would seem like every vaccination helps.

Some people resist vaccination because they’re worried about side effects. I’m sympathetic. My doc recommended the new shingles vaccine this summer. The pharmacist said it could have “noticeable” side effects. I’ll say. Felt like a bad flu for 12 hours and a red, swollen injection site. The second dose two months later felt like a worse flu for 12 hours. But both were preferable to having shingles.  In 1955, the year before I got my polio shot, the vaccine had been rushed to market and a bad batch with live virus made it into the supply chain. Some 40,000 cases of polio resulted, with 51 paralyzed and four deaths. Yet my father, who was a research chemist, had us vaccinated anyway. I assume he did this because what little risk remained was preferable to having polio.

I know some people won’t get the vaccine because they think Bill Gates is inserting microchips into their arms. (These do have the latest module for Windows 95, I’ve heard.) Or that it’s a government mind control program. These people are perfect marks for conspiracy videos on YouTube. I know because they send me the links.

So that leaves the rest of us to decide if a vaccine is worth what risk it entails against what benefits it provides. For me, it’s a trade-off. The vaccine efficacy looks good and worth whatever risk it has against a CT scan showing lungs like ground glass. And let’s have no illusions about a vaccine being a pandemic off switch. It’s unlikely to be for reasons related to distribution and acceptance.

But Qantas’ idea might accelerate things for those select populations flying or traveling in commercial airliners and might thus help the industry recover a little faster than it otherwise might. For me, that makes a vaccine worth it.

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93 COMMENTS

  1. I avoided the flu vaccine for years, until last year. Why? I have a mild needle phobia, and I’m in the age group that is minimally affected by the flu if I got it. What changed? It sounded like last flu season was going to be a bad one, and I regularly visit my brother who has two young kids (one at the time who was a new born), so it seemed like the responsible adult thing to do. The flu shot makes me lightheaded for about 20-30 minutes after the shot, and my arm is sore for 12-48 hours afterwards; in short, it’s quite uncomfortable and painful, but still (slightly) better than getting the flu. But more importantly, it reduces my chances of transmitting the flu to those who are likely to be worse off than me.

    Which brings me to the covid vaccine. When it becomes available to me, I will be getting it. I expect it will be as uncomfortable as the flu shot is, but it will help bring an end to this pandemic.

    So what about airlines requiring proof of vaccination? Sure, that’s fine, I have no problems with that. But that alone won’t make me more likely to fly commercially, because of the same main reason I don’t fly now: I’m more concerned about picking something up in the airport itself. If as many as half of the airlines served by the terminal require shots but the other half doesn’t, it really doesn’t make that much of a difference to me since I’ll still be exposed. And though I hate the masks, I wear one because they’re required and because the latest science (which now has a rather sizable sample size) says they make a measurable difference. But others are still unconvinced, or just tired of them, and an airport terminal seems like too large of a space for covid mitigation steps to be effectively enforced.

    • It’s all kind of stupid. If you test negative before flying then why not fly? If you’ve already had Covid before, then why not fly? I am beginning to suspect that drug companies just want to sell product to people who don’t need it.

  2. By what warped logic can a government that feels empowered to shut down your business and mandate that you wear a mask whenever you’re not in your shower (unless accompanied), assert that it’s powerless to compel you to get vaccinated? Seriously.

    If Phase 1 of our “response” to this pandemic has been characterized by lack of brains, it sure looks like Phase 2 is going to be an exhibit of lack of balls.

    • Depends on which “government” you mean, YARS. There is no federal mandate that shuts down your business or mandates that you wear a mask. Thus, requiring a vaccination falls to those governments that do, the states. Unfortunately, SARS-CoV-2 can’t read a map but is a frequent flier.

      Had our President understood that “pandemic” means that the US population is divided into only two groups: “those who have it” and “those who will get it”, and then issued uniform requirements for business and social contacts, it would have been trivial to then mandate taking a vaccine, once it became available.

      Instead, he passed the buck to the state governors who issued wildly variable and inconsistent executive orders. As a result, the states with the lowest population density were not immune to the virus, they were simply the last to see their death rates spike to comparable per-capita.

      As for the anti-vaxxers, we should treat them the same way that we did the polio sufferers a hundred years ago by confining them to sanitariums. If they survive the experience, they will have achieved immunity the old-fashioned way, while spreading the virus to only like-minded idiots.

      Every so often Mother Nature feels it necessary to administer a global IQ test. I plan to pass it.

    • Hurray for vaccines and science!

      However, the development of a vaccine and the current science around COVID is a poor investment with little return.

      What science really needs to focus on, is the remarkable ability COVID has that can distinguish between a politician and a mere serf.

      More remarkable, this distinction can be made of the politicians immediate family members and close friends.

      A mere serf must cancel Thanksgiving, but a governor can dine at nice restaurants with family and friends, all immune to COVID.

      Want to take a family vacation to Mexico? That would probably never cross you mind. But, perfectly safe if you are a Mayor.

      It’s home barbershops with the Wahl clippers for many, but a Senator can visit the beauty salon without regard to COVID.

      And could science please tell me what mutation occurs after 10pm that we need a curfew?

      Apparently, this whole thing could have been put to bed in March if we have only voted each other into office.

      I vote Paul B. for Co-Deputy, Fifth Degree Dog Catcher. There, no need for a vaccine, mask or social distancing for Paul and his family. Simple, easy, and it didn’t cost me a thing. And the best thing, Deputy Dog Catcher is still open for your family and group of friends.

  3. Requiring vaccination seems like something that countries should do as a condition of entry. To the extent that they work with the airlines to help enforce that, great, but it seems like this should be imposed by immigration authorities. After all, once you’re vaccinated, if we really have a 95% efficacy rate, who cares if the guy next to you spilling pretzel crumbs on your lap is dumb enough to prefer to get COVID?

    And I say that as a thirty-something, healthy, fit, and active person who had COVID, and I’ll tell you, if it wasn’t the sickest I’ve ever been in my life, it must have been in the top three. No question I’m gonna get the vaccine so I don’t have to go through that again. I’d rather feel sick for a day than feel sick for a week. That’s a no brainer. Concerns about new vaccine technology are obviously worth taking seriously. But pretending the vaccine is a larger risk than COVID itself is obvious malarkey.

    • If you’ve already had the actual disease and recovered from it, is that not the same as receiving the vaccine? I’m not doctor, but doesn’t your recovery mean that you already have the antibodies that the vaccine is designed to make your body produce? What additional benefit is there to getting you a shot at this point?

      I’m not making any comment, I am honestly asking the questions.

      • Covid apparently behaves like the flu or cold virus in that getting it doesn’t provide you with lifetime immunity. Unless you’ve gotten over covid within the last 6-8 months it seems, there will still be a benefit to the vaccine. This also means it will likely take a higher percentage of the population receiving the vaccine (or having recently recovered from covid) to get true herd immunity.

      • David, I remember public health authorities suggesting immunity earlier in the year based on having contracted and survived Covid 19. I’m now reading accounts of people having had the disease twice and most public health authorities have now reversed their stance on this. My doc told me just yesterday we don’t know enough about the disease to be able to make any such herd immunity assessments based solely on a preponderance of the population having contracted it and survived. I’m thinking declare an emergency and land at the nearest suitable airport, ie: get the shot.

      • Unclear. Other coronaviruses seem to provide immunity on the scale of a low single digit number of years, usually, but we don’t know for sure with this one, especially how widespread it is, I could see this one mutating fast enough for that immunity to wear off sooner potentially.

        Given that the general public probably won’t be getting the vaccine until Spring of next year, I’ll have been a year or more out from my infection, so I won’t be assuming I’ll still be immune then, in terms of the precautions I’m taking. I probably still will be immune, but it’s not something I want to take any chances on.

      • Um, no, it’s not the same, but the answer is, well, complicated. And Joshua L. seems to have done a pretty good job of answering your question. Still, there’s more.
        1. Early studies have indicated that there is a “dose dependence” associated with the severity of the case of COVID-19 you had, but that’s not always the case. My very mild symptoms (akin to bad allergies until I lost my sense of taste and smell) have turned me, 6 months post-symptoms, into a person with a high antibody titer (as a convalescent plasma donor at an academic medical center my plasma sees tests others might not). The latest study on what we refer to as “conferred immunity” (as in the illness confers the immune response) suggests what Joshua L said, that we can expect at least 8-12 months of conferred immunity.
        2. There is evidence (again from the latest study I’ve seen on the topic but others as well, that the immune system can be impressed by having created the antibodies once and reactivated to do so again (simplistic explanation). There may, however, be a time-lag before you see those antibodies in sufficient numbers to actually fight off an infection. We are seeing people who were infected once and subsequently reinfected. Since the virus has been documented to have been in the CONUS for almost exactly one year (perhaps a bit longer)we may see more of those.
        3. The majority of people will develop a conferred immunity to the “spike protein” portion of the virus, and said antibody response (IgG specifically) is generally considered “neutralizing” or capable of stopping the virus in its tracks because it cannot enter the cell to reproduce. The 2 mRNA vaccines and the in-testing adenovirus-vector vaccines are engineered specifically to target the spike protein. Some individuals may, however, develop antibodies, instead to the plasmid capsule of the virus, or a subfragment of the virus’ genetic material, neither of which is thought to confer a neutralizing effect.
        4. We just don’t yet know how long the vaccine-induced immunity will last, but the hope is that it will be at least as long as conferred immunity lasts for, and by impressing the T- and B-cells, it’s hoped the immune response will trigger faster later.
        5. There is evidence of some relatively minor (by coronavirus standards) mutation of the virus to make it more infective but not necessarily more lethal, and this could be sufficient to allow an initial infection to not confer neutralizing antibody response to the modified virus. At this time there are at least 4 different variants in the wild, that have been observed in the CONUS and verified by genome sequencing.

        And finally, for Paul Bertorelli, vaccine penetration of at least 60% and probably more like 75-80% will be needed to provide a herd-immune response. And that herd immunity doesn’t mean you can avoid your vaccination if you want, a particular form of insanity seen all the time with the influenza vaccine, but rather that we can then protect that relatively small subset of the population whose immune-compromised status means they cannot be safely vaccinated. I didn’t sleep through either of my epidemiology classes… but had plenty of classmates who did, and are likely wishing now that they had not taken those naps after lunch.

        Particularly the mRNA vaccines have been developed in a manner that the last real complaint about a potential allergy (usually to egg) has been erased. It might be possible to have an allergy to the BioNTech lipid carrier used in the Pfizer vaccine, but I’ve seen no documentation that this has been seen in the Phase 3 trials. We are working on the statistical assurance that over 95% of the adverse reactions to vaccines are seen in the first 42 days after administration (in this case, after the 2nd dose), and we’ll be collecting data on long-delayed effects for years.

        When the vaccine becomes available, I’ll be as close to the front of the line as I can get because (A) I think it’s the right thing to do, as we don’t know the long-term mutations of this virus yet; (B) I think it’s safe enough; and (C) I want to be a portion of the long-term research on safety and efficacy.

        • We (GF and I) had the bad allergy / loss of taste & smell symptoms; I had some belly distress, listlessness, and achiness as well. Unfortunately the list of possible COVID-19 symptoms reads like a book of symptoms.
          I went to school with kids that had polio, and I remember getting the Sabin oral vaccine. Can’t wait for this one, even though i must be pricked twice.

      • No-one knows for sure. The latest research according to The Economist (which is right on most things) is that anti-bodies in people who have had the disease (like me) only last a couple of months.
        But T cells, which can also play a role in stopping you getting it seem to last much longer, perhaps for life.
        So for me, when I am offered the vaccine (likely to be sometime next summer) I will take it. Although I only had a “mild” dose, way back at the end of February, it is not something I want to repeat — first time I have been in bed sick for 25 years.

  4. “Vaccine Passport: Stop Crying, Get Your Shot”. Good title and even better advice. Of course all the dead enders and Bill Gates conspiracy subscribers will come out of the woodwork at the thought of mandatory vaccinations inhibiting their personal rights just like they howl in this comment section about wearing masks, but none of those, in my town at least, run red lights howling about an invasion of personal rights for some strange reason. Some of them ride motorcycles without helmets but that’s at least little or no risk to the rest of us and we may all be even better off for that.

  5. I haven’t had a flu shot in 40 years, have no intention of getting one now( even though my doctor asks me every year now). Have I had the flu, sure I have usually the one day kind. I do intend on getting the Covid vaccine shot when it becomes my turn to get it. By then all of the high priority/risk persons will have had the vaccine and then we all should know if there are any issues with it. As far as proving vaccination for domestic airline travel, mask wearing rules have not helped get airlines back to the pre-Covid levels, I doubt the domestic airline traveler will be any more willing to airline when being asked for any medical papers. For international travel each country can set their requirements as they please. Some though that rely on tourist spending might be a little reluctant to add any more barriers to those tourists and the money they spend. I have already said my peace as far as what the government can require or all of the shutdowns implemented.

    • Bite the bullet this year and get the flu shot. Both illnesses present, initially, looking a lot alike. So far, you’ve been lucky by not getting the flu, as very few who actually get it see a “one day kind”. more than likely you’ve had a coronavirus of the type that causes the common cold, or an adenovirus, but note that having had one of the 4 strains of coronavirus that does cause the common cold doesn’t convey the same immune response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus spike protein. So you’re not protected. Even if it’s now completely protective, research shows that taking the annual flu shot can reduce symptoms and duration if you do get a variant of the flu not directly covered in the vaccine.

  6. I will be the last one getting the shot, if any. It has been rushed and there are no guarantees its safe. For a virus that is not even a killer virus or dangerous for more than 2 % of the population. And a nuisance for most under 65 or so, unless you have some sort of disease. Anyway, protecting the sick, elderly from any virus is the key. Not taking the whole population in hostage.

    • Covid doesn’t have to kill you to do real harm. There are a lot of people who have mild cases of covid–mild enough to not even require hospitalization–but who then develop long-term effects like shortness of breath even when sitting, memory issues, and more. Or like a family member of mine (in their early-20s) who basically got encephalitis from it, which led to balance and memory issues. It seems the young and healthy may be more likely to get these long-term effects, and there is also developing evidence that covid may be able to penetrate the blood-brain barrier.

      Covid has *already* taken the whole population in hostage; the vaccine is the release of the hostage situation.

      Yes, the vaccine has been developed in record time, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t safe. It has actually gone through the normal process of testing. Though I will feel better about it after January when the FDA won’t be run an administration that is politically motivated to show a win at any cost.

        • Simply put, the Incumbent has injected politics into the pandemic with his personal recommendations on pharmacologic therapies and inducing the FDA to issue an Emergency Use Authorization, since rescinded for cause, for hydroxychloroquine; for summoning the head of the FDA to the White House demanding to know why the Pfizer vaccine wasn’t rushed to an EUA approval; for dismissing the non-pharmacological mitigations we can safely employ to reduce spread of the virus including cloth face coverings (preferably masks rather than gaiters and certainly not face shields), encouraging maskless gatherings.

          The race to vaccinate, while I feel was certainly justified, has denied us the long-term evaluation of safety, normally requiring a 2-year period to see what hidden untoward effects might be lurking.

          Your politics are showing. In my case, my reading of the medical literature is showing; that’s where I’ve been getting my data on COVID, treatment, therapeutics, and drug efficacies.

          • Certainly any president would be seriously pressured to do “something”. Of course, I don’t take medical (or any) advice from a politician.

      • Because we’ll have an “administration” after January run by a senile socialist bent on returning to open borders, taxing business AND citizens out of existence, braindead “climate change” initiatives based on manipulated data, disarming the public….THAT’S the “administration” you’re looking forward to? C’mon, man…

        I thought those who post in this venue were a bit more perceptive than what appears in most internet “discussions”. Guess not.

  7. I have a friend in New Zealand who is related to the Prime Minister. In an email I received just today, she tells me that rank-and-file residents are not being allowed to travel out of the Country. Inbound non-residents must apply for entry, the waiting list is three months long and they must be quarantined in a specific location at their expense before being allowed to freely move about. Their island status gives them the luxury to control the situation that way and “there have been no incidences of the virus (there) for months.”

    Here in the US … not so much. I don’t see any other way to slow this thing down, allow businesses to reopen and life to resume some modicum of normalcy other than taking the vaccine. I’ve always taken a flu shot but last year — for the first time — I had a moderate reaction to a HD dose requiring a doctor visit so now I’m running scared. I still have a scar from that time in the military when they used pneumatically projected needles and one tore my arm skin open, too. When the vaccine is offered to me, I guess I’ll begrudgingly take it but I still won’t fly commercially or insert myself into any concentrated areas of people routinely. To keep Bill Gates from surreptitiously using the opportunity to upload Win95 into my noodle and taking over my mind, I’ll stay away from router antennas, USB ports and buy myself an aluminized protective faraday shield hat. If only we’da listened to Nancy and gone into SFO Chinatown for some dim sum last February 24th. Too late now.

    • It’s unlikely we’ll see “normal” for years, if ever. We’re going to settle into a “New normal”, vaccine and all.

      Pneumatic injectors were a wonderful idea (no needles!) but if either the operator or recipient moved, a pretty significant skin injury could occur. Sorry you got one.

      Even after vaccination, masking and social distancing will be recommended because this virus is really infective given half the chance, and even with working antibodies, you could still get sick enough for some degree of complications.

  8. For my benefit and that of others, I follow COVID-19 hygienic guidelines; wearing appropriate masks, social distancing, avoiding friends or family gatherings. And, should I live long enough, I would welcome the covid vaccine. Now, what intrigues me is that there are some, in this wonderful country, that do not understand or believe in the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who do not realize that they are accepting a 9/11 per day. And, in their ignorant and idiotic way, may have become American assailants against themselves, their family, and innocent others.
    “Vaccine Passport: Stop Crying, Get Your Shot”. Thank you Paul!

  9. As far as I’m concerned and for a whole host of reasons, I will never fly commercially willingly, never. I never flew commercially before Covid, nothing has surfaced to change my mind post Covid.

    My wife and I both got the shingle shot at the same time and we both got shingles after we got the shots at the same time. If there ever was a government conspiracy that was it. It was one of the most excruciatingly painful things either of us have ever gone through much less at the same time. It took me about six months to fully recover while it took my wife a year. Mind you, we got shingles after we got the shingles shot.

    After that fun filled event passed, the new and improved double dose shingle shot became available. We were first in line eagerly awaiting our first dose. The second dose came months later, we had to wait for it because there were shortages for whatever reason. I religiously on a weekly basis phoned around to try and secure the final dose. We finally got it. Thank God. We had to travel deep in the hood to get it. We didn’t care.

    All that being said and based on our wonderful experience with shingles, we will both begrudgingly get the Covid vaccine when it becomes available to the masses. According to my lawyer son who represents a major Pharma in the industry who just happens to be recovering from Covid with less than flu like symptoms, the general population is not going to see the vaccine until Spring at best.

    • You’re one of a small proportion of the population who see shingles after vaccination. It’s possible, but equally likely is that something else triggered your outbreak before immunity was induced.

      As for symptoms, they vary. My wife had significant symptoms and I spent 2 weeks providing skilled medical and nursing care at home because the local hospitals didn’t need someone I could care for at home… at least until she worsened to a point I deemed it necessary to get her admitted, which thankfully never happened; she recovered although with some lingering after-effects.

      Having seen other clinical cases, the spectrum of symptoms is immense, and the spectrum of potentially significant after-effects is frightening. The potential for multi-organ damage from micro clots, significant inflammatory changes to blood vessels and the heart are all things not seen routinely in other respiratory virus illness. Also, the way this virus attacks the lungs is not like other Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome spectra we’ve seen. That’s why seeing someone need to be intubated and ventilated is so frightening. The potential to damage the remaining relatively healthy portions of the lung is so great.

      Your lawyer son may be right about distribution and availability; I’ve my own doubts about the rosy pictures being painted suggesting we’ll all be vaccinated by June, but I’d love to be pleasantly surprised.

  10. For everyone stating this is just like things that have been required in the past, can you please tell me when you had to provide proof of medical treatment to travel within your own country? I’m no doctor, but this seems like a HIPAA violation unless I give the information willingly.

    Add this to the relatively short and small trials that have been done on these vaccines, and we have very little idea of potential reactions for individuals or with other medications. I have already heard of cases of people in the trial stating the side effects were pretty severe and lasted potentially for weeks after each round of vaccine. Before you go calling my an “anti-vaxxer,” I’ve willingly received a flu vaccine for as long as I can remember. I have nothing against getting a vaccine, but I want to do it when I have seen more people take it, and then knowingly accept the risk or lack of it. Mandating medical treatment is a bit too big brother for me…

    • First, it’s not a HIPAA violation, as there are exceptions in HIPAA for the benefit of public health and to mitigate public health emergencies.

      Second, the trials are shorter than “normal” but the technology is decades old and has been tested in other virus outbreaks, and because no actual intact (modified live, or killed) virus is used, that vector is eliminated. The majority of untoward effects are seen within the first 6 weeks (42 days) of administration, in this case of the second dose, and we’re relying on a statistical datum to lead us to not expect something cropping up much later down the road.

      Finally, in the parlance of my profession, the trial sizes are not underpowered but are limited in that they do not include children or the elderly, both groups of which will be studied later (but soon) because some special precautions are generally employed in those groups because of different physiological response both to vaccines and to various diseases. The trial sizes were completely appropriate.

  11. This goes far beyond aviation. Yes, as pilots, we do have the option of flying ourselves and avoiding the airlines if required–but MANDATORY vaccinations go far beyond aviation. Should we have to show “proof” of vaccination before attending a sporting event? Visiting a shopping mall (or simply any named business)? Entering a government building? Entering a school? Going to a gym? Will there be “passport controls” on the entrances to cities or communities?

    This is far too much “control” (usually explained as “for your own good!”) by government.

    Those of us “of a certain age” might recall the classic book (and horrible movie adaptation) “Catch-22”. In it, a young officer thought it would be a good idea to have people swear a “Loyalty Oath” every day. Not to be outdone, OTHER officers instituted their OWN requirements for a “Loyalty Oath”. To NOT participate in a “Loyalty Oath” asked the question “Why WON’T you–are you a Communist?” Soon the base was filled with people chantng the Loyalty Oath mantra–people entering the main gate, people going to the PX–people entering offices, entire formations of troops chanting the Loyalty Oath–even people waiting in line to eat at the Mess Hall. It served no purpose, but people just DID it to get what they wanted. It all came crashing down when one person–an Indian named Chief White Halfoat–went to the mess hall and demanded “Gimmee EAT!) The Chief was a big man–and out of fear, they “gave him eat.” The whole charade collapsed immediately.

    I believe that Paul had it right when he commented that “the data is of questionable accuracy” but really put everything in context by comparing it to things we are used to–malfunction rates of parachutes and general aviation accidents. When put in that context, we can make far better decisions. Living in rural Minnesota, I won’t get any of the first vaccinations–some think that the President held up development of the vaccine for political reasons–others (including me) think it was RUSHED through–enough so that like the Shingles example, it may be TOO quick. Let’s face it, there have been more well-meaning but invalid twists, turns, and chicanery with Covid than VALID information (“close the border/open the border”–“wear/don’t wear masks”–“lockdowns work/don’t work”–and perhaps the biggest mistake of them all–putting Corona victims in nursing homes.

    Think of the examples above–there is a lot of pressure to be sure that Oshkosh goes on this year–will attendees (and their families) be required to show proof of vaccination, just to attend? Same for any Trade Shows. What’s next–“proof of vaccination to attend other aviation events? Fly-ins, Flight Breakfasts? Sporting events? Getting a haircut? Going to Home Depot? ENTRANCE TO ANY PUBLIC PLACE?

    • I’m strongly considering NOT going to Oshkosh this year, simply because it will be too close to general availability of the vaccine, and judging just by what I see on this forum, there will be enough people not taking covid seriously for me to feel safe attending. And I was *really* looking forward to it this year, so doubly so for next year.

      Comparing covid to smallpox, I obviously can’t speak from experience but apparently there were mandatory vaccinations for smallpox. So requiring vaccination is not unheard of. One could argue that while it might be an individual right to decide on their own if vaccination is right for them, they should also be held liable for infecting others (some of whom may have legitimate medical reasons why they *can’t* be vaccinated) if they chose not to be vaccinated, and especially if they choose not to social distance or wear a mask. In a society, not everything that is an individual choice is isolated to just that individual. It’s the same reason why no smoking laws exist.

    • Jim:

      Right now, the Constitution is sitting in a trash barrel (maybe it’s a medical waste container) because our betters have decided that they need to (and know how to) protect us from ourselves.

      Rather than complain about that, let me ask this: Once a vaccines are available universally, are we to expect that the constitution will remain in the trash – simply because millions/billions of people refuse to avail themselves of said vaccines?

      There is no way to avoid that question. Your examples are spot-on.

      IMWO, the non-vaccinated will need to go live in a leper colony. Is that harsh? Less harsh than the trashing of our constitution and turning once-independent adults into sweater-growers.

  12. Mr. Bertorelli,

    Your statement, “Everyone assumes—me included—it’s lack of confidence in COVID mitigations, such as they are, that keeps people away from the airports,” assumes an awful lot. I work for an airline, and I believe that is only a part of why more people aren’t flying. There are several other factors.

    One factor is business people have figured out they can do meetings online. Companies are taking advantage of not having to pay for travel expenses. I traveled by airline for a living for a decade prior to becoming an airlines pilot, and if I could have done my work via online methods I absolutely would have.

    Another factor is government restrictions. On the west coast, where I live, governors have put some pretty onerous restrictions on their citizens. Airlines have admitted that those restrictions are hurting flight loads. Add in the recommended, or in same cases required, “quarantine” after traveling, and many people simply can’t afford or choose not to travel. Even with the travel benefits I have with my airline, I have not traveled at all because I can’t afford to sit at home for two weeks after traveling for pleasure. How traveling on duty for the airline is somehow lower risk, not requiring a post-travel two week quarantine, is beyond me, but I’m no scientist.

    Lastly, many of the families with young children are choosing to drive rather than fly. Mask mandates starting for children age 2 has much to do with it. I have personally seen many times where families have been pulled from a flight and then banned for the day on that airline because their 2 or 3 year-old kept pulling his/her mask down. Employees have been given power to remove people from flights, and they often act with little to no grace. After seeing this happen, I have heard multiple families state “we are never flying on “X” airline again after this.” As someone with a young child, I can sympathize with that feeling.

    So no, Paul, not “everyone” assumes a lack of COVID mitigations are what is keeping people away from airports. Sweeping statements like that are very often missing the bigger picture.

    • James P.,
      I agree with everything you have said except for the online meetings. there are reports of companies admitting that nothing replaces a face to face meeting to help sales. As far as keeping away from airports I think qualifying that statement to airline terminals would be more correct. In the GA world, at least with the company I fly for, people with the means and money are flying charter more and more to avoid airlining. Some of the FBOs in Florida that I have flown to are extremely busy right now, just as busy as last year before all this virus nonsense started or more. And my company is flying so much that maintenance on the airplanes is starting to limit our trips due to the airplanes and crews flying so much.

  13. Paul,
    BTW I have been at a local drop zone to finally skydive and at this DZ the Covid mitigations (masks on ground or in the airplane) not enforced even though there was a visit by the local county health department. no reports of any exposure after the season ended at the end of October. At another competing DZ that did enforce masks and other measures ended the season with one report of covid exposure. Makes me wonder just how effective these measures really are. YARS comment about the Constitution is spot on. Even though I intend to get the vaccine when available, I can’t stop thinking about how the comment “your vaccination papers please” might become a standard in this country.

  14. First off, I am happy that there are people in this country who disagree, about EVERYTHING! Welcome to America! Second, I’m happy there are Americans who decide for themselves what they will and won’t do regarding their own health, wearing masks, etc. When the entire country follows the gov’t, welcome to a terrible place to live. Wear you mask or not, I DO NOT CARE. I will act accordingly. I am going to Sun N’ Fun this weekend, and OshKosh this summer. That all being said……………..

    Boy, I can’t wait to this is all over, and we’re back to arguing if tricycle pilots are as good as tail wheel pilots, NOPE….and if flying a Cirrus under a parachute is silly…Double NOPE.

  15. “In those days, they used glass syringes about the size of a grease gun and the needle was so long, the doc had to be careful not to drive it plumb through and pin your arm to your chest. You got a cherry sucker to shut you the hell up.”

    Thank you Paul for your ability to paint a word picture so clearly with humor, that I am having a difficult time typing thru eyes streaming tears as a result of my laughter. Thank you for adding good al’ fashion humor to a very serious subject to make your point. Absolutely delightful!

    Many of the commenters are parents. I am one also. No one has yet raised any concern of the vaccination fusillade that virtually every newborn is bombarded with in the first six months of life through the age of three. We have no freedom red flags with vaccination proof requirements for grade/middle/and high school attendance at public schools. Nary a peep about the “21 Gun Salute” every military vet ( me included) is subject to upon enlistment. Even if you never went overseas, you got the 3 rounds of seven needles containing a magazine full of vaccinations. Proof of vaccinations has been a requirement for travel ever since the Spanish Flu pandemic. Some countries have lifted them others have not. But certainly no public outrage if a particular country required proof of vaccination traveling in the recent past. It’s just what a traveler has to do if they want to travel to a particular country. Several states have required vaccinations for junior and high school girls to prevent potential infections of STD’s. Very little public outrage regarding those mandatory vaccination requirements. Doesn’t matter if the gal is sexually active or not. And, those vaccinations do not apply to males.

    I am now 68. I have never had a flu vaccination…ever. But I have had the all of the normal, little discussed baby vaccinations, pre-school vaccinations, polio vaccinations, tetanus and tetanus booster vaccinations, junior high/high school requirements of vaccinations followed with the military “21 Gun Salute”. America is and has been, a highly vaccinated society. But I don’t remember attaching “left” or “right”, Republican or Democrat, “progressive” or “conservative”, liberal/socialist or freedom lover/constitutionalist labels to anyone either being required or choosing to be vaccinated or those who choose not to. It seems that we are under an illusion that everything we do or not do has some sort of political motivation behind it.

    If a business owner wants to have verification of a Covid-19 vaccination to aid in their view of health safety of both customer and employee, we as patrons have the option to patronize their establishment within their rules of engagement or go somewhere else that does not have those same requirements. It’s their business, not yours or mine. There are virtually no businesses that have no competition.

    The general aviation community spends a considerable amount of time and money in continual research combined with training in an effort to lower the yearly fatality rate of about 600 people. Like coronavirus, aviation was quite “novel” 75 years ago. It still is to most of the global population. A lot of laws came into existence since Orville and Wilber. For the most part, they have improved the breed. In the 60’s when P-51’s and AT-6’s were plentiful and cheap, available for anyone to fly with a Private Pilot License there was a scourge of warbird accidents that led to FAA regulations. New legal training requirements combined with cooperation among the aviation groups has vastly improved the safety of those flying warbirds. In addition the safety of ground-bound folks who know nothing about airplanes let alone warbirds, these regulations have been a safety improvement for them because they don’t have Merlins and PW’s raining down on them. Likewise in the auto industry, laws promulgated by the government to protect society essentially from themselves, mandated seat belt installation on every car and truck built. But those laws had to be taken to another level to include government mandated usage because the carnage had continued unabated even though they were now standard equipment in all new cars for over a couple of decades. There was a national, societal benefit as a result of mandated usage.

    You cannot get on a thrill ride at an amusement park without a bar or seatbelt. Most folks would not question that law. Most would question why there wasn’t a law for a bar in front of you on a Ferris wheel. Sometime in the history of carnival rides people got ejected and hurt. Laws regarding safety and ride maintenance turned out to benefit the common good.

    Today, I can just see a YouTube video or FB posting complaining that the ride operator was violating someone’s civil rights because a required restraining bar or seatbelt was secured prior to their ride on the Vomit Comet. That would be immediately followed by a talking head making definitive statements that the evidence was inconclusive or positive as to the safety merits of being strapped in or not depending on their political allegiances. Shortly thereafter, experts witnesses would be paraded by “conservative” media and “liberal” counterparts arguing the virtues or the liabilities of mandatory restraint usage. Inevitably a national politician will put their finger in the air, test which way the political winds are blowing, declare their loyalty to one side or another, and immediately launch a congressional investigation into carnival ride operators. Eventually, the consumer will be labelled one way or another depending on the outcome of their ride. If a ride customer gets slung out of the Vomit Comet, they must have been a right wing hawk dyeing doing what they loved exercising their God given freedom to defy the laws of physics. If they get strapped in and don’t fall out, they are labeled liberal socialists because they allowed government demanded laws to ensure their safety from ejection.

    We have become a country of opinions. Never before, in the history of the world, can one opine on just about anything and get an audience. This is like giving steak to the junkyard dogs. Social media combined with the internet allows for opinion to be shared instantly, all over the globe. We have become legends in our own mind. We can have an opinion, shop around for others for agreement, and through enough “likes” turn our opinions into “facts”. The number of “likes” determines if the opinion is considered factual. We don’t have to think. All we need is an opinion. There is a reason why FB, YouTube, Twitter, etc have a button called “like”. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to like them. It means you agree with their opinion. This new form of communication casts all sorts of doubt on true facts and adds credibility to pure fantasy. How do you sift through all the opinions and determine if that opinion has any true facts to back it up? I wish there were simple answers to that question.

    Covid-19 spreads rapidly via community transmission. Slow the community transmission, buy some time for a vaccine development. Masking, social distancing, better hygiene, combined with a concerted effort to stay away from large gatherings in close quarters results in less transmission…more time for a vaccine not only be developed but distributed in large enough quantities to effectively vaccinate the largest percentage of the US population. For all those who challenge that assessment, we are now at record breaking highs for new infections with the health system totally maxed out. We have tested the virus by opening the economy based on 50 different opinions. Universally, when the four protocols to stop community transmission are implemented, the virus spread slows. In the case of New Zealand, they have stopped all new transmissions.
    For those who are of a different opinion might want to make a call to your local healthcare provider before you head to the emergency room or want a routine test.

    Because we have our own opinions and they are so divergent, with constant arguments spawned by largely political positions, combined with our abilities to influence such a large audience, individually and collectively, tells me to stay away from most folks. Because there is such a wide range of opinions, and the decisions that are made from these opinions can and do affect me and my family with out my permission, the only logical thing I can do, is stay away from people. I have to do exactly the opposite of what we as the US population has done in the past, that is band together for a common societal good. I have to stay away from you, and you from me, for the common good. A paradox of an answer for the common good.

    Since we cannot agree on even an opinion, with politics invading into virtually every debate making any logical progress to a consensus impossible, I cannot be around friends and family for a while longer. For me, its the only way I can have any minimal control over my destiny.

    I am glad we don’t train, fly, and try to stay proficient by opinions, especially difference of opinions. I am glad my Bonanza responds to physics, of which that science I do understand, and fully seek more knowledge about that science of flight in that particular airplane. I don’t want someone’s opinion of how to make this airplane and its pilot perform at its best. I want to know the science of flight and pilot performance.

    I am glad there are passions that have clear lines of definition to fully enjoy. For me, flying is one of them. And for those who have a similar, or better yet, a better understanding of flying, I want to be around them once again. But I have to get through all of the different opinions about Covid-19, and how those opinions drive the action of so many people, before I can return to the relative safety of comraderies among those who understand, appreciate, and seek the science of flight as well.

    I hate this isolation. But for the common good, I shall do my best to not be around others sphere of influence. If we don’t do it, the government will. I am sure we can do more in cooperation than the government can do with mandates. I am sure that will be a matter of opinion.

    Yeah, I will have the vaccination. I won’t be happy that I have really no other viable options other than be a permanent hermit. However, I am sure, I will not be at the top of the list for vaccinations. Hopefully, I can make an intelligent decision based on proven facts of efficacy and safety because I am fairly far down the US food change in importance. But like all vaccinations, I have a unique DNA that can react differently than expected. A novel decision made by a novel virus.

    • Jim, I am ten years older than you, and I’ve had the same civilian and military vaccination experience you’ve received, plus regular Shinglex and Flu immunizations. I believe that the pandemic solutions need our acceptance and full cooperation. Therefore, I welcome the vaccine and the adding of the COVID-19 proof of vaccination to my International or Domestic Air Travel Card, if there were a company or government mandate for it.

      On isolation, as a CFI, I’ve managed to adapt (keeping busy) by giving aviation seminars via ZOOM and videoconferencing as I am not flying at this time. So I keep busy that way, with an emphasis on being prudent and not getting COVID-19 sloppy. Having said that, I do miss the good old days.

  16. < I’m happy there are Americans who decide for themselves what they will and won’t do regarding their own health, wearing masks, etc….'Wear you mask or not, I DO NOT CARE.

    'There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and it's growing. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'
    Issac Asimov

  17. … my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’

    Asimov was one of my favorite futurists. Agree—but, with a couple of “air quotes”—that can be turned on its head—“my KNOWLEGE is as good as IGNORANCE”. Consider the claims and counterclaims associated with this (and some of the claims and counterclaims coming from the same persons!)

    “Calls to “close the border “—yet when the order was closed—“don’t be afraid” and “go to Chinatown”

    “Sweden has the right idea—keep open to develop “herd immunity”—now restricted.

    “Put the affected in nursing homes “—causing the greatest number of deaths”—NOW “lockdown”.

    “Wear masks—DO NOT wear masks—WEAR masks—this version of the “triple Lindy” (made famous by Rodney Dangerfield) had more flip-flips than the movie—and were exposed by Dr Fauci—the government “expert.”

    The reality is that nobody has an absolute claim on “right or wrong” on this subject—and the true number of people affected is as difficult to ascertain as the true number of votes in the last election—both are subject to “interpretation.”

    I’ll get my shots—but I wouldn’t want to be first. (I don’t have to worry about it, because according to Raf’s NYT link—there are 181,500,000 ahead of me!) 🤪

    • One thing about this virus: It truly is “novel”. And that is why we in science and medicine are not always as clear as we would like. Because we’re learning about it. Early on, the main reasons for no masks were the fact that we were not certain that it was aerosolized and droplet borne, but more importantly, the population were buying up all the masks, especially N95 respirators, that were critical to keep our health care providers safe to treat all the patients. Fauci did not mislead, and Tony’s one of the best virologists I’ve encountered in my lifetime. He’s also still a practicing physician, something he negotiated when he came to NIH decades ago. his guesses are usually presaging results of major studies. Don’t discount someone like that.

      Take your time about getting your vaccination. I’ll be as close to the front of the line as I can be. It’s important.

  18. Paul, nice job. And to answer your epidemiology and infectious disease question, between 75-80%, preferably even higher, vaccine penetration will be necessary to achieve herd immunity.

    Herd immunity doesn’t mean that someone who doesn’t WANT to get vaccinated can then forego it, but rather it recognizes that there are members of the population whose immune status, cancer treatment, etc., makes receiving any vaccine a risk. Think about the patients in a friend of mine’s practice: kids. Over 20% of his patients are leukemia patients. Taking a vaccine is a significant hazard for them, so, in order to keep them safer, he has to take other mitigating strategies. One of those is herd immunity, and he has little patience for parents who don’t believe in vaccines both for the benefit of the immune-compromised kids they might encounter in his waiting room, AND for the diseases he has to treat in their kids because they’re unprotected. Recall that the several measles outbreaks in the last 2 years has had a significant death toll as well as causing neurological damange.

    • Four out of five of my immediate family are immune compromised. We’re the high risk category yet our doctors tell us we shouldn’t even consider the vaccine until better data is available. They are the only experts who know our medical history and the only ones we should listen to as to whether to vaccinate or not. The government should NOT get in between the doctor and patient regarding appropriate care. The insurance companies already do that, to our detriment. This doesn’t make me out to be an anti-vaxxer, only a concerned patient. That being said, if a private entity wishes to mandate no vaccine, no use, it should be able to do so. I’ll spend my dollars elsewhere.

    • Gerry, I have appreciated your comments here to lend some factual background to this confusing and controversial subject. I do have one question though. In an earlier comment you indicated that the phase 3 testing was not conducted on children and the elderly, which seems a little counterintuitive. If the elderly, especially with underlying conditions, are regarded as one of the target groups for early vaccination, why were they not part of the testing protocols? I’m not criticizing, as I do intend to take the vaccine, but it would seem that looking for adverse reactions in that high priority group would be only logical. Thanks, from a member of that target group. 🙂

  19. Thanks Paul – and I add my thanks to Gerry C. for his illuminating contributions and to the other wise contributors in this discussion. You know who you are. 🙂 I’ll be in the queue, for myself and for duty.

  20. It is their airline and they can require what they want. Australia due to it’s isolation has managed to keep the Covid under control and they wish to continue to do so while it rages in the US and Europe.

  21. Excellent article and as far as I’m concerned the airlines would be smart to impose such a requirement. I want to be first in line for this vaccine and I’m one who thinks a little before popping an aspirin.

  22. Or don’t take airlines at all. Unless you are a road warrior, there is really no need to subject yourself to what airline travel became over the last 20 years: cattle pen lines to go through security theater, packed planes, surly airline management, a 1/4 ounce bag of stale pretzels and flat cola.

    No thanks. The world got along just fine before airlines. Isn’t that why we learned to fly, so we didn’t have to subject ourselves to the indignities of airline travel unless our job required it? We have proven over the last 9 months that it’s not entirely necessary that we spend our waking lives doing our OJ impressing in filthy overcrowded terminals to get work done. Some have to, others? Not so much.

    So glad I’m retiring in 18 months and ‘giving’ up the privilege of having to get on an airliner.

  23. I recently had to travel to Rome for business (allowed if you can prove it’s for business and you skedaddle before 120 hours after entering the country). We flew through Frankfurt on the way there and Zurich on the way back. In each country was passed through we had to self-certify that we were symptom-free for 14 days and provide contract tracing information, which would be destroyed within a month’s time. Coming back to the nation of the Bill of Rights and 273,000 dead and counting, nothing. On the other hand, I bought something from Amazon the other day with one click of the mouse since they had my credit card and my address already stored in their cavernous data vault. As far as I can tell, none of the countries we passed through were oppressive dictatorships bordering on the collapse of individuality and the right to pursue happiness.

    I’m finding lately that the people who claim that their rights are being violated are usually trying to justify an act or attitude that is either inconsiderate, stupid, or anti-social.

  24. Modern a has just announced immunity from Covid after the second shot of up to three months.
    That’s it? Is that all there is? I’m going to have to rethink getting this vaccine if three months, or, anything close to that is the effective rate. At the moment, no thanks.

  25. Hey Paul how about leaving AvWeb what it is aviation an aviation information type place and leaving the political out. That’s what many people use it for. I can fly my own plane where and when I want and don’t need to wear a mask, and I won’t. While the virus is real the government and health officials “cook” numbers in various ways. Keep AvWeb aviation and not a political forum

  26. When the first mandatory Salk vaccine program arrived, I was in the 2nd grade. I don’t remember much besides the long line at school, the shot, and how terrified my parents were of the polio outbreaks that swept Houston almost every year. I also remember the people my family knew who wore leg braces, rode wheelchairs, or lived in iron lungs due to polio.

    After the year of those mass immunizations, there was never another one of those polio outbreaks in Houston, and they receded in our memories like nightmares. You’re damned right I’ll get my Covid-19 shot.

  27. Once again, the standard reminder to remain respectful, civil and on topic with comments. We won’t tolerate name calling and I’ve already deleted one in that regard. Aviation often intersects politics and this is an example of that. But that’s no reason for over-the-top bile, regardless of your politics.

    Love, the management.

        • Yup. (3rd time is a charm?)
          Agree, everybody’s rights will be intact according to established laws.

          One scenario attempts to protect the general health of not only the airline workers and the business but as importantly the paying passengers of all faiths, all biases, all prejudices, all colors, and all people, whomever and however they choose to love –

          The other attempts to preserve and protect the already infected state of spiritual ill-health of the business workers through bigotry, hate and cult-like behavior by denying all others that don’t share their ‘religious’ views and therefore, paradoxically, deny themselves and their business greater growth in the process.

          Rights intact, awareness revealed.

  28. I will be there to get my shots literally as soon as they will allow me. I’m in few enough risk categories that it will be awhile, apparently. Hopefully my nearly-nonagenarian mother will be farther ahead in the queue.

  29. I’m about the same age as Paul B., and remember those huge needles quite well. Everyone that I know who gets a flu shot, gets the flu. I’ve never had a flu shot, and never had the flu. I did get a shingles shot a few years ago, after my sister got the shingles for the third time, and had a dull headache for 2 days. Will I get the virus vaccine? Yes, and then I can tell the Walmart greeter that I no longer have to wear a mask.

    Aren’t we all pilots here? Instead of fussing over whether which airline is going to require a vaccination, get in your plane and go where you want.

  30. Seems to me that the basic premise of most of the arguments is mistaken: While there is decent evidence that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines prevent or ameliorate the disease, there is (so far) no evidence that they prevent infection with the virus. The EULA studies just weren’t designed to test that hypothesis and, based upon past history, such is a much higher bar to clear.

    Before someone flames me as a tin-foil hat anti-vaxxer, I’d point out that I volunteered for the vaccine trials last summer (wasn’t chosen), I just spent a week dealing with the side-effects of my $170 shingles vaccine (the doc warned me “the only good thing about the vaccine is that its better than the disease”) and that I get the latest serotype flu vaccine every year.

    Bottom line: I’ll take the vaccine when it becomes available, but just to protect myself (I’m in the high risk category). However, until I see better data, the assumption that this is going to create the magic “herd immunity” that lets us travel when/where we want is just another politician’s “fact”.

  31. Bravo Mt Bertorelli. succinct, sensible and socially responsible. I’m from Australia and travel to USA extensively for business (flying duties). Not so for the last year almost! We here have pretty much eliminated local transmission, and it is travelers (mainly from the USA) who set our infection rates off originally and who are still providing a trickle of cases that are normally being caught in compulsory quarantine. we have done lockdowns, and masks, and now we are at a new normal, opening up and getting the economy back on track in time for Christmas, our major festival and family season. of course we do have the minority of ignorant (self informed) tin hatters here also (with themes imported, once again from the USA), but the main thing is to regard this virus, and vaccination as Public Health issue, and not a political one. it is about responsibilities, NOT rights! the real sheep are galloping off after the pied pipers of the fringe conspiracy sites. I will be front of the line when business people have their turn, I’ll take the jab, and get back to work as soon as possible, I have no issue with the the efficacy of the National Drug Approval Authorities, or the policy of QANTAS, They have jobs to do, and to do to the highest standards, so I will be happy to travel with an entire cabin full of immunized other people who are considerate and pragmatic, happy that the fringe dwellers and ignorant, non masking anti Vaxxers are not on board! I just want to get back into the skies of the USA, and do my job. Flying, and smiling!