As long as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has a say, the Sunshine State will not require so-called “vaccine passports” for individuals to go about their normal lives in a post-pandemic world.
According to Click Orlando, the Republican governor has affirmed that the state would not mandate vaccination documentation before traveling or attending large public gatherings like concerts or sporting events.
“I just want to make very clear in Florida, we are not doing any vaccine passports,” DeSantis said during a roundtable discussion with Dr. Scott Atlas, professor Sunetra Gupta, Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, and Dr. Martin Kulldorff on Thursday. “All those experts said that it was a bad idea. I think it’s a bad idea, and so that will not happen. And so folks should get vaccinated, if they want to, we’ll obviously provide that, but under no circumstances will the state be asking you to show proof of vaccination, and I don’t think private companies should be doing that either.”
“To start going down the road of vaccine passports, I mean, you have some of these states saying to go to a sporting event, you have to show either a negative test or a vaccine proof,” DeSantis went on. “I think you’ve just got to make decisions. If you want to go to an event, go to an event. If you don’t, don’t. But to be requiring people to provide all this proof, that’s not how you get society back to normal, so we’re rejecting any vaccine passports here in the state of Florida.”
Others at the roundtable indicated that requiring such documentation would usher in a new era of discrimination reminiscent of “Jim Crow.”
“The vaccine hesitancy data show that the people who are hesitant to take vaccines actually tend to be the working class people, poor, poor people, minority populations,” said Dr. Jay Bhattacharya during the discussion. “We’re going to then turn around and say, ‘You have to have a vaccine passport to participate in American life,’ it’s going to be a new vaccine Jim Crow. It’s a huge, huge mistake that will undermine trust in public health, and I think it’s just morally, it’s just morally wrong.”
According to The Blaze, the federal government under President Joe Biden has toyed with the notion of vaccination passports, but quickly backed away:
The federal government has explored the idea of some kind of vaccination passport. President Biden signed an executive order in January directing government agencies to “assess the feasibility” of linking coronavirus vaccine certificates with other vaccination records and providing digital copies for international travelers to use.
The White House has since rejected the idea of a federal mandate for domestic vaccination passports, which would require a database of who has been vaccinated and who has not.
“It’s not the role of the government to hold that data and to do that,” White House senior adviser for COVID-19 response Andy Slavitt at a Monday press briefing, adding that regardless of how Americans eventually develop a system to demonstrate vaccination, the information “should be private. The data should be secure. Access to it should be free. It should be available both digitally and in paper and in multiple languages. And it should be open source.”
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