An Alabama military base has become the first in the nation to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination this week as infection rates rise across the state.
“Due to the rising rates in the counties around us and some on Fort Rucker, we’re now implementing G.O. number 12,” Maj. Gen. David Francis said in a video on Fort Rucker’s official Facebook page.
“The big difference is going to be that if you are not wearing a mask, the leadership will be able to ask you, ask soldiers, to prove that they’ve been vaccinated by showing their vaccination card,” he added.
The rule currently applies only to uniformed personnel.
“Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said that about 70 percent of military personnel have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine,” The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.
“That’s encouraging, but there’s more work to do, and so we continue to be in the mode of encouraging troops to get vaccinated to the maximum degree,” Kirby said.
The move was considered especially important as the state’s daily coronavirus cases have risen over the past two weeks.
“According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, the seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Alabama has risen over the past two weeks from 205.43 new cases per day on June 28 to 559.57 new cases per day on July 12,” The Associated Press reported on Wednesday.
“In Alabama only about 33% of the population is fully vaccinated compared to about 48% nationally, according to numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
The nation has faced growing calls for proof of vaccination in recent weeks.
In May, the Biden administration said it was “taking a very close look” at requiring Americans to have vaccination passports in order to travel into or out of the country.
“We’re taking a very close look at [requiring vaccine passports to travel internationally],” Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas told ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
“One of our principles that has guided us throughout this pandemic is the value of diversity, equity and inclusion and making sure that any passport that we provide for vaccinations is accessible to all and that no one is disenfranchised.”
Countries in Europe and Asia are creating ways to require proof of a coronavirus vaccination, Forbes reported.
These so-called “passports” are digitally based and being developed by the European Union, other countries and private groups.
Although the United States does not have any vaccination requirements for international travelers, anyone traveling into the country is required to produce a negative COVID-19 test, according to Forbes.
The White House has said in the past it would not be creating a “federal vaccinations database” or a “federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential.”
“Our interest is very simple from the federal government, which is Americans’ privacy and rights should be protected, and so that these systems are not used against people unfairly.”
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