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‘Look, I’m safe’: New wristband broadcasts COVID vaccination status to make others feel better

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An American company has reportedly developed a special bracelet/wristband designed to essentially be used as a coronavirus vaccine passport.

Created by ImmunaBand, the wristbands are already being used at the Reading Terminal Market, an indoor public market in downtown Philadelphia, according to Philly station WPVI.

One business owner, CEO Sofia DeLeon of El Merkury Central American Street Food, told the station last week that she and the majority of her staff had already begun wearing the band to make it clear they’d been vaccinated.

“It was really important for me to have everybody be vaccinated, to have everyone come back to work and feel safe, and for customers to know this is more of customer-facing, that people know it’s safe to eat from us,” she said while still masked.


(Video: WPVI-TV)

According to ImmunaBand President Tashof Bernton, other restaurants across the country have also begun jumping on the bandwagon. He told CNN this week that he’s hopeful it continues spreading.

“It’s a way of saying, ‘Look, I’m safe,’ and try to deescalate some of the tension and fear that people feel after about a year in lockdown,” he said.

He added that a portion of the profits are being directed toward coronavirus relief/recovery efforts.

“Yes, it is a business, but it also really is about both showing support for the vaccination program and doing what we can to bring us back together again as a society,” he said.

CNN notes that to purchase an ImmunaBand, customers must first upload their vaccination card to prove that they’ve been vaccinated. Once approved, they can choose from one of two bands.

“The company makes two bands — one with just the QR code and another with the QR code plus the wearer’s name and type of vaccine they received. That code can be scanned with a smartphone to prove vaccination,” according to CNN.

In a separate interview this week with San Diego station KSWB, Bernton said he’s already sold thousands of ImmunaBands ever since he started selling them roughly three weeks ago.

“In fact, he said one customer sent him a photo from a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden in New York. … Dr. Bernton said the fan told him he was allowed in with the bracelet after an employee at the gate pulled up the website through the QR code,” according to KSWB.

But not everybody cares for his product.

“It’s a little too much. Sometimes you go to a restaurant and you don’t even know the waiter’s name. I don’t need to know their medical history like that,” one San Diego woman said to KSWB.

“I don’t think it’s necessary. I think vaccinated people should maintain the precautions. Like they say, you can take off your mask outside, but I still wear my mask because you just don’t know,” one Philly woman said to WPVI.

Incidentally, this attitude — wanting to keep strict coronavirus restrictions in place even for the vaccinated — has reportedly dampened the country’s vaccination efforts. Making matters worse is that President Joe Biden is one of the loudest advocates for this.

Just this week he exclaimed that wearing a mask even when vaccinated is a “patriotic responsibility.” He made the remark after being asked to explain why he’d worn a mask while approaching the podium at a White House briefing Tuesday.

Critics argue that not only is he going against the science by remaining so unnaturally committed to masking, but he’s also disincentivizing the getting of a coronavirus vaccine by making it appear like being vaccinated makes no difference.

But like with any and all criticism, the president seems to have refused to listen and adjust his strategy. If anything, he appears to keep doubling down, even as the rate of vaccinations continues to swing lower and lower because of growing vaccine hesitancy.

With vaccine hesitancy on the rise, it’s not clear if ImmunaBand’s silicone bracelets will make much of a difference.

Vivek Saxena

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