Fix the ‘vaccine pass’ systemA Seoul administrative court issued a temporary stay on the government plan to enforce "vaccine passes" — a proof of two-shot vaccinations or negative PCR test results within 48 hours — when teenagers enter cram schools, study rooms and other outer-school facilities for studying.
The court sided with the parent association which filed the injunction against the health minister after the government mandated vaccine passes in learning facilities from December 6.
The court reached the conclusion that the discriminative move on unvaccinated people infringed on civilian freedom to learn and choose professions and other basic rights.
The Ministry of Health plans to appeal, but until the first trial ruling is delivered, the vaccine pass system cannot be enforced on learning facilities.
Therefore, individual facilities must come up with their own measures to prevent herd infections. The government also must devise alternative measures to its plan to expand the vaccine pass on teenagers aged 18 and under from March 1.
The government must endeavor so as not to invalidate the vaccine pass system, as the court ruling applies only to study locations. But a broader ramification is inevitable if the court comes to the same conclusion in the injunction suits on the enforcement in restaurants and cafes.
The vaccine pass program will be of no use if the court applies the same reasoning on other mass-use facilities.The government must realize the entire quarantine system could crumble.
It should reexamine the quarantine approach to deliberate if it really was not designed for the convenience of the administrator. It must come up with a convincing and scientific approach instead of uniform and political one to draw support from all citizens.
The vaccine pass enforcement on grocery and department stores from January 10 has provoked strong backlash. People cannot understand why they should be restricted in shopping for daily necessities when there is no restraint on unvaccinated people on mass-use public transportation.
The Ministry of Health must adjust policy from the perspective of the people. Instead of uniformly enforcing the four-head cap per table in restaurants and cafes, it must allow bigger groups in more spacious locations.
Experts project the Omicron variant, which is more infectious but less harmful, will become the primary virus threat from next month. Quarantine measures should be upgraded to reflect the changes.