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.”
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.”
Earlier this month, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis took executive action to ban vaccine passports.
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.”
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.
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