By Jessica Marie Baumgartner
Apple has announced that it will be offering a COVID Travel Pass in mid-April for iOS, and mid-May for Android. As more and more Americans get their COVID-19 vaccine and the director of the CDC continues to stress the necessity for people to “roll up their sleeves,” more companies are jumping to offer their own version of a vaccine passport.
As the Biden administration expands mass vaccination sites to provide 95,000 shots per day, the tension among those who are taking the vaccine and those who chose not to, is growing. Public health officials are urging Americans to take an experimental vaccine that has been fast-tracked during the pandemic, but many people remain skeptical.
This is now such a point of contention that numerous state officials in conservative states are currently working to draft and sign legislation that rejects policies that mandate vaccine passports or require vaccines:
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) issued an executive order banning vaccine passports late last month, stating, “It is 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 be able to participate in society.”
Ohio lawmakers introduced a bill that would prohibit vaccine passports. State Representative Al Cutrona (R-Canfield), stood by the decision: “A vaccine should not be mandated or required by our government for our people to integrate back to a sense of normalcy. We’ve had restrictions on our freedoms for over a year and more restrictions or mandates are not the answer to every issue related to COVID-19.”
Missouri Governor Mike Parson (R) has been clearly against vaccination mandates. He did not impose a mask mandate at any time throughout the pandemic under the pretense that if he did, it would allow more government overreach for vaccine requirements later. His Twitter post went viral Monday, April 5: “I do NOT support a vaccine passport and have no intention of implementing one in the State of Missouri.”
Most recently, leaders in Pennsylvania have begun to “take measures” against vaccine passports as well.
But the Biden administration has already started working on its own version of a vaccine passport, so movement between states that do not require proof of a COVID-19 vaccine or negative test and those that require proof could become increasingly difficult.
New York’s Excelsior Pass, which was launched last month, is being celebrated by many liberals as a “safe way to reopen.” Large venues are testing it as a method for vetting individuals before permitting them to attend an event.
This form of technology is experimental and optional — for now — but the concern over whether some form of health pass will be the future of social gathering remains a constant reminder of how fragile our freedoms are. Like the mask mandates, the lockdowns, and social-distancing enforcement policies that seem to separate blue states from red states, a vaccine passport is just another tool that, if used and mandated by governments, violates the U.S. Constitution and should be opposed by those who work to uphold it. How We the People react matters more than ever right now.