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An unintended side effect of the anti-Covid vaccine is that it could create a new social divide

Even as vaccines to combat it are being rolled out across the globe, the coronavirus has been busy reinventing itself by mutating into new strains. There is the so-called UK strain, said to be upto 70% more infectious than the original virus, and a Brazilian strain, and a South African strain.

There is another strain which medical science has yet to identify – the strain of casteism. A number of countries, including Greece, Iceland, and Denmark, are reportedly planning to introduce a Vaccine Passport which will permit only those people who have official documentation to prove that they have been inoculated against the virus to enter their borders.

Other countries might follow suit, further curtailing international travel which has already been drastically curbed by the pandemic.

Not only international travel but also travel within countries might be affected if different parts of a country come up with an internal version of the Vaccine Passport, to regulate movement within its frontiers. Already, swab tests and quarantine are mandatory for domestic travellers, in India and elsewhere. An intra-national, or internal, Vaccine Passport or Vaccine Visa could well be added to such precautionary measures against the spread of the virus.

Such restrictions on mobility are discriminatory and, in effect, a form of casteism, dividing people into the vaccinated Brahmins from the unvaccinated Shudras, or OBCs.

It is the civic duty of citizens to get themselves vaccinated to fight the pandemic as opinion makers keep exhorting us. However, in many cases individuals might be unable to comply for a variety of reasons. People who suffer from allergies are medically advised against being injected as the vaccine might result in a possibly fatal anaphylactic shock. The vaccines are also contra-indicated for cancer patients and survivors, and heart patients on blood-thinning medication.

Take all these together and they constitute a sizeable percentage of the population for whom it’s safer not to take the vaccine than to take it.

If vaccine-based visas and similar restrictions become the norm such people might find themselves cast beyond the pale. Or caste beyond the pale.

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Disclaimer

This article is intended to bring a smile to your face. Any connection to events and characters in real life is coincidental.



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