If so-called “vaccine passports” are required by the Biden administration or private companies, Florida Republian Gov. Ron DeSantis promised Monday he would take “executive action” in his state.
“You want the fox to guard the hen house? I mean, give me a break,” DeSantis said. “I think this is something that has huge privacy implications. It is not necessary to do.”
A digital “vaccine passport” would require customers to provide proof of vaccination to enter a store or a form of transportation.
The governor noted that sometime this week, 3.5 million seniors will have been vaccinated in the state, about 75% of that population.
He said it’s important to “take care” of that vulnerable population.
“But at the same time, we are not going to have you provide proof of this, just to be able to live your life normally,” DeSantis said.
“I’m going to be taking some action, in an executive function, emergency function, here very shortly.”
On Monday, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., told Fox News that the Democrats’ move to require vaccine IDs to conduct “basic daily activities” undercuts their rationale for opposing voter IDs.
“If under Democrat logic, you should need an ID to enter even a grocery store, surely there wouldn’t be an objection to showing an ID to legally vote,” he said.
House Judiciary Committee ranking member Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said the Biden administration “doesn’t seem to care about passports when it comes to illegal migrants crossing the southern border.”
The Biden administration reportedly is working on a way to standardize a vaccine ID process, the Washington Post reported.
The paper said the administration and private companies, “from cruise lines to sports teams,” could require the passports, which could amount to an app on a smartphone with a scannable code similar to an airline boarding pass.
See video of DeSantis’ remarks:
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) says he’ll be taking executive action against “vaccine passports” over privacy concerns:
“You want the fox to guard the hen house? I mean, give me a break.” pic.twitter.com/99ZPY9K8AW
— The Recount (@therecount) March 29, 2021
On Twitter, Los Angeles Times legal affairs columnist Harry Litman, a former U.S. attorney who teaches constitutional law at UCLA, said vaccine passports “are a good idea.”
“Among other things, it will single out the still large contingent of people who refuse vaccines, who will be foreclosed from doing a lot of things their peers can do. That should help break the resistance down,” he wrote.
Investigative reporter Sharyl Attkission reacted: “This sort of blind advocacy can be harmful.”
In an interview Sunday night, liberal feminist author Naomi Wolf warned a vaccine passport would be “literally the end of human liberty in the West.”
This sort of blind advocacy can be harmful. https://t.co/7WJ7dMbQl4
— Sharyl Attkisson (@SharylAttkisson) March 29, 2021
Meanwhile, President Biden on Monday urged state and local officials in states such as Texas to reconsider lifting their coronavirus restrictions and to reinstate mask mandates.
“Please, this is not politics. Reinstate the mandate if you let it down,” Biden said.
As he walked away from the podium, Biden paused to answer whether or not some states such pause reopening.
“Yes,” he said.
The Vaccination Credential Initiative
In January, the Financial Times reported Microsoft is part of a coalition of technology and health organizations working on the development of a vaccine passport.
The Vaccination Credential Initiative aims to enable people to “demonstrate their health status to safely return to travel, work, school and life while protecting their data privacy.”
Oracle and the Mayo Clinic also are part of the coalition, which is working with technology created by The Commons Project in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation.
People who have been vaccinated for the coronavirus currently receive a piece of paper to document their vaccination, Paul Meyer, the chief executive of The Commons Project, told the Financial Times.
The coalition could develop a digital certificate that would be stored on a smartphone in a digital wallet or a physical QR code.
The Times said the coalition expects event planners and universities will require proof of vaccination.
Mike Sicilia, the executive vice president of Oracle’s Global Business Units, said in a statement the passport “needs to be as easy as online banking.”
Reuters reported in January a firm of London plumbers is considering including in its employment contracts a requirement for workers to have a COVID-19 vaccine, according to its founder.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison suggested last August that the vaccine would be mandatory for residents of his country but later backtracked.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top White House coronavirus adviser, said in August he would not support requiring the COVID-19 vaccine nationwide.
“We don’t want to be mandating from the federal government to the general population. It would be unenforceable and not appropriate,” he said.
States, cities and businesses, however, could require vaccination and impose penalties for noncompliance, such as a fine.
In early December, a bill was proposed in the New York State Assembly that would require COVID-19 vaccines for all residents who are able to safely receive it. The move came after the New York State Bar Association recommended the state consider making it mandatory for every resident, except for people exempted by a doctor.
In Virginia in August, the health commissioner said the state would mandate the vaccine, but a spokeswoman later said there were no such plans.
The CEO of Australia’s Quantas said in December that proof of vaccination would be a requirement for all international passengers with his airline in the future and others likely would adopt the policy.
However, in a Reuters panel discussion with health experts and tourism authorities on Monday, World Travel and Trade Council CEO Gloria Guevara said she disagreed with “the approach from Qantas.”
“We should never require the vaccination to get a job or to travel,” she said. “If you require the vaccination before travel, that takes us to discrimination.”
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