The Swedish government has recently enacted a nationwide mandate that requires individuals to show proof of vaccination, now they’re getting microchipped to avoid carrying around a vaccine passport.
“Vaccine passes are a measure that we see as necessary,” a spokesperson for the Swedish Public Health Agency announced about the Dec. 1 mandate. “We cannot just kick back and hope for the best.”
The new restriction will require participants at indoor events with more than 100 people to be fully vaccinated, and will apply to sporting events, movie theaters, conferences, religious ceremonies, and more.
As a result, the country has seen a recent uptick of subdermal microchips on the rise, with more than 6,000 residents opting to get tech the size of a grain of rice implanted into their hands or forearms to store and transmit their vaccination data.
“Implants are very versatile technology that can be used for many different things, and right now it is very convenient to have Covid passport always accessible on your implant,” said Hannes Sjobladfor of the Swedish chipmaker Epicenter.
The technology already existed pre-pandemic, and Epicenter made headlines earlier this year when staff members had passkeys to the office implanted into their hands, after the company developed the human-compatible tech for years.
Swedish residents have already been using the technology, which is capable of being read by near-field communication devices like smartphones, to carry their office IDs, gym memberships, and bus passes. But technically, all that information can be stored on a smartphone anyway, so why get an implant?
“In case your phone runs out of battery, it’s always accessible to you,” Sjobladfor remarked. “So of course, that’s how we use this technology today, next year we are going to use it for something else.”
It’s unclear if the implants will ever be utilized in the United States, or if vaccine passports will eventually be required. Florida governor Ron DeSantis banned them in the state in September, and imposed $5,000 fines on any business or institution that requires proof of vaccination.
However, Connecticut is launching a state-wide “digital health pass” this week that will allow individuals to use a QR code to prove their vaccination status to businesses that require the jab for entry, despite no statewide vaccine or vaccine passport requirements.
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