OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
Joe Biden has announced an initiative to create a vaccine passport that will say who, and who has not, been vaccinated against the coronavirus in order for them to get access to certain venues who will require proof of vaccination.
This would essentially take the choice out of the hands of many people who do not want to be vaccinated but will likely feel compelled to get one so that they can participate in normal life.
But Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is not going to stand for it and is fighting back, The Washington Times reported.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday that he would issue an executive order forbidding local governments and businesses from requiring so-called “vaccine passports” to show proof that customers have been inoculated against the coronavirus.
He made the announcement on a day when more Floridians would become eligible for vaccination and during a ceremony he convened at the state Capitol to sign into law a bill approved by the Legislature on Friday that would bar COVID-related lawsuits against businesses that have made good-faith efforts to comply with guidelines meant to stop the spread of the virus.
While the governor has previously spoken out against “vaccine passports,” he said he would take the additional step of forbidding businesses from refusing to serve people who can’t prove they have been vaccinated.
“We always said we wanted to provide it for all but mandate it for none,” the governor said in Tallahassee on Monday. “And that was something that, while it was advised to take particularly if you’re vulnerable, we were not going to force you to do it.”
“It’s completely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to impose upon you the requirement that you show proof of vaccine to just simply participate in normal society,” he said.
The governor said that he believes “have certain freedoms and individual liberties” to decide whether to get the vaccine and conveyed concerns about privacy if such a program was launched.
“You’re going to do this and what, give all this information to some big corporation?” he said. “You want the fox to guard the hen house? I mean give me a break.”
The DeSantis press conference came after The Washington Post reported that the Biden administration and private companies are working on a vaccine passport.
The information about the passports should be coming in the near future and will be led by White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients.
“Our role is to help ensure that any solutions in this area should be simple, free, open source, accessible to people both digitally and on paper, and designed from the start to protect people’s privacy,” he said on March 12.
Others in the White House have defended the passports, which some have compared to the mark of the Beast.
“We recognize this is a tricky and important subject, but the core here is that Americans, like people around the world, who are vaccinated will want to be able to demonstrate that vaccination in various forms,” Andy Slavitt, White House senior adviser on the pandemic response, said.
And New York State has announced that they will be the first state to step into this dystopian nightmare.
“New Yorkers have proven they can follow public health guidance to beat back COVID, and the innovative Excelsior Pass is another tool in our new toolbox to fight the virus while allowing more sectors of the economy to reopen safely and keeping personal information secure,” the governor said in a press release. “The question of ‘public health or the economy’ has always been a false choice — the answer must be both. As more New Yorkers get vaccinated each day and as key public health metrics continue to regularly reach their lowest rates in months, the first-in-the-nation Excelsior Pass heralds the next step in our thoughtful, science-based reopening.”
Major businesses and venues, such as Madison Square Garden beginning next week and the Times Union Center in Alban, have already announced that they will be participating in the new program.
Yes, it is voluntary in the way breathing air is voluntary. You do not have to do it but you re not going to have much fun if you choose not to.
“IBM is proud to support the State of New York with its efforts to apply innovative technologies to help residents and communities respond to COVID-19. In choosing a flexible and accessible tool that places security and privacy at its core, the state is modeling for the rest of the country how new, technology-enabled approaches can help safely reinvigorate economies while also striving to protect public health,” General Manager, IBM Public and Federal Markets, Steve LaFleche said.