CNN host calls for global vaccine passports to prove which brand, dosage each person has received

CNN host Fareed Zakaria on Sunday implored countries across the world to implement a global vaccine passport that would require people to prove which vaccine brand and dosage they’d received. 

During an appearance on “CNN Newsroom,” Zakaria said the coronavirus would never go away and that society would have to “learn to live” with it and its potential mutations. He also lamented that there was no global coordination or common standards in terms of fighting the virus before calling for “a common certificate or passport” that would document everything about an individual’s vaccination status.

“We need to fundamentally understand this thing is not going away. And so any strategy that is based on the idea that we just do one more thing and it’ll go away, that’s not what’s going to happen,” Zakaria told fellow CNN host Jim Acosta. “We are going to have to learn to live with some level of virus and some mutations in our societies, moving from a pandemic to endemic stage.”

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Fareed Zakaria and Jim Acosta discuss the Omicron variant of the coronavirus on CNN, November 28, 2021.

Fareed Zakaria and Jim Acosta discuss the Omicron variant of the coronavirus on CNN, November 28, 2021.
(Screenshot/CNN)

Zakaria argued that the travel bans being instituted by President Biden and other countries against certain African nations due to growing concerns over the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus were just “band- aids” and wouldn’t help very much. He added that what needed to happen was for vaccinations and MRNA technology to be ramped up across the globe and for scientists to figure out what boosters would be needed to fight each new variant.

Acosta claimed that if travel restrictions were actually based on the risk of spreading the coronavirus, then other countries would want to ban travel to the U.S. He then asked at what point there needed to be a vaccine mandate for air travelers worldwide. 

“Wouldn’t that potentially be a better measure here than arbitrarily going after one part of the world, even though the variant is around the globe at this point?” he asked. 

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FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the authorization of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11, during a speech in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building’s South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 3, 2021. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the authorization of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11, during a speech in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building’s South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 3, 2021. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/File Photo
(REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/File Photo)

“To your first point, as you point out, the U.S. still has a massive disproportionate number of Covid cases, Covid deaths, so this is a case of somebody in a glass house throwing a lot of stones,” Zakaria said. 

“The single biggest gap here has been the global one. We have no global coordination, no common standards, no common certificate or passport that tells you whether someone has had one dose, two doses, what vaccine it was from,” he added. 

Zakaria claimed that it would be “trivial” to be able to create such a document system technologically, but that no wanted to cooperate internationally.

“Everyone is instead talking of nationalism, protectionism, reshoring supply lines,” he said. “All of that is great, but what this new variant is showing us is none of it is going to work, because at the end of the day, the world is already so connected … The only solution here is to come together, figure out a joint set of standards, joint sets of travel procedures, joint sets of vaccine stats and make a huge push to vaccinate the world.”

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Passengers arrive at Heathrow Airport in London, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. The new potentially more contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus popped up in more European countries on Saturday, just days after being identified in South Africa, leaving governments around the world scrambling to stop the spread. In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said mask-wearing in shops and on public transport will be required, starting Tuesday. 

Passengers arrive at Heathrow Airport in London, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. The new potentially more contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus popped up in more European countries on Saturday, just days after being identified in South Africa, leaving governments around the world scrambling to stop the spread. In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said mask-wearing in shops and on public transport will be required, starting Tuesday. 
(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

“It remains true that vaccinating the world, while it sounds very ambitious, Jim, it’s going to cost a fraction of the cost of these serial shutdowns, these travel shutdowns. You could vaccinate all of Africa and save yourself an enormous amount of money, because if we have to do these shutdowns again, the cost will get back into the trillions,” Zakaria added.

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