As more and more Americans get the coronavirus vaccine, the nation’s businesses and states will likely have a dizzying array of requirements regarding vaccination, or the lack of one, that their customers will be forced to maneuver.
Axios reports that a maze of vaccine passports is on the horizon as some states and many businesses plow “ahead with methods of verifying that people have been vaccinated, despite conservative resistance to ‘vaccine passports.’”
Many conservative Americans, and those wary of government involvement in any kind of vaccination verification system, are resisting a new American society where brandishing proof of vaccine cards are the new “normal.”
Georgetown University Professor Lawrence Gostin told Axios of the number of businesses requiring proof of vaccination, “I think it’s going to be a tidal wave that’s going to be very difficult to stop, because there’s enormous economic and social incentive for proof of vaccinations.”
The US government says it won’t introduce federally mandated vaccine passports.
But restaurants, sports stadiums, and other venues could require documents as proof a person has been vaccinated.
They may also be required for international travel: https://t.co/fprVrkAzWA
— Healthcare Insider (@HealthInsider) April 10, 2021
GOP Governors Are Saying ‘No’ To Vaccine Mandates
President Joe Biden says he does not support a federal vaccine passport system, but some Republican governors have already said there will be no requirements for vaccine passports in their states.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has banned state agencies, political subdivisions, and organizations that receive public funds from creating vaccine passports, or “otherwise requiring someone to provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccine in order to receive services.”
Texans shouldn’t be required to show proof of vaccination & reveal private health information just to go about their daily lives.
I issued an Executive Order that prohibits government-mandated vaccine passports in Texas.
Don’t tread on our personal freedoms. pic.twitter.com/weTbz4FKyH
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) April 6, 2021
Earlier this month, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis took executive action to ban vaccine passports.
Today I issued an executive order prohibiting the use of so-called COVID-19 vaccine passports. The Legislature is working on making permanent these protections for Floridians and I look forward to signing them into law soon. Read my EO here – https://t.co/6QwLsLWEWm
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) April 2, 2021
Blue States Taking Opposite Approach
While the governors of Texas and Florida say they are looking out for the personal freedoms of their citizens, blue states and other entities are taking a different approach.
New York has been the first to introduce a “digital health certificate” called the Excelsior Pass that holds the person’s COVID or vaccine status.
In places like Yankee Stadium, attendees are required to provide proof of a negative COVID test or proof of being vaccinated.
In Hawaii, officials are working on a vaccine passport that would allow travelers to bypass a two-week quarantine requirement. As would be expected, tourism in the Aloha state has been devastated by COVID.
Private businesses have the freedom to dictate who they let into their establishment, and that can be different even door to door. In a report from Axios, Professor Lawrence Gostin said, “Just like you can say no shirt no shoes no service, you can say no vaccine no service.”
University of Pennsylvania Professor Eric Feldman added, “In general, private businesses can decide who they’re willing to admit into their businesses and serve so long as they don’t violate either the federal Civil Rights act or a state law.”
Vaccine passports are emerging as the latest polarizing issue in the Covid-19 pandemic, as policy makers debate whether Americans should have proof of inoculation to return to work, travel or attend events https://t.co/lZJLWUeb82
— Capital Journal (@WSJPolitics) April 9, 2021
Federal Action Against Vaccine Passports
Opponents of vaccine passports have voiced concerns that if the federal government is involved, things like federal vaccine databases and other sorts of personal intrusion could follow.
On Thursday, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) introduced a bill that would ban federal agencies from imposing mandatory COVID vaccination documentation.
There is also a concern that vaccine passports would deepen inequities, such as vaccination rates among African-Americans being lower than Whites. But it could also create a stratified “us vs. them” society, the vaccinated vs. the unvaccinated.
Digital health passes & vaccine passports offer a path of return to normalcy. Despite public support, some governors strongly oppose it. So, are they legal? Can businesses implement them? What safeguards are needed?
— Lawrence Gostin (@LawrenceGostin) April 13, 2021
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