Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday said he is opposed to so-called vaccination passports that would document whether an individual has been vaccinated against the coronavirus.
New York state is implementing what Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has dubbed Excelsior Pass, in which venues can determine an individual’s vaccination status by scanning a QR code. Cuomo said the pass is designed to allow entertainment venues to safely reopen.
A report in The Washington Post depicts the Biden administration as favoring the passport concept and seeing for itself the role of bringing together separate passport efforts that exist to create a uniform national model. The report noted that at least 17 separate vaccination passport efforts are now underway.
However, DeSantis, a Republican, called such passports “completely unacceptable.”
“We are not supporting doing any vaccine passports in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said during a news conference Monday in Tallahassee. “No one was more aggressive about getting [vaccines] out. … We always said we want to provide it for all but mandate it for none.”
“There was never under discussion any mandates to take vaccines. We will not have COVID vaccines mandated in Florida,” he added.
DeSantis said the passports represent an infringement on freedom.
“The flip side of that, though, with these vaccine passports is 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 be able to participate in normal society,” he said.
“You want to go to a movie theater, should you have to show that? No. You want to go to a game? No. You want to go to a theme park? No. So we’re not supportive of that,” the governor said.
DeSantis said Americans have “certain freedoms and individual liberties to make decisions for themselves.”
Passports have “huge privacy implications,” he said.
DeSantis said that he might issue an executive order concerning vaccination passports and that he would seek to have the Florida Legislature enshrine that position into state law.
The governor said of corporations getting people’s private health information, “You want the fox to guard the henhouse?”
Others have also voiced their objections to a vaccine passport system.
If you think voter ID is racist, but a vaccine passport is just fine, you need some serious help thinking through public policy.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) March 30, 2021
Vaccine passports are meant to control what you can do, where you can go and how much the government can know about your activities.
Privacy is a right.
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) March 30, 2021
No vaccine passport. It doesn’t get much more dystopian than being required to show your “health papers” wherever you go.
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) March 30, 2021
When did we go from “two weeks to slow the spread” to mandatory vaccine passports?
Liberals have perfected give an inch, take a mile.
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) March 30, 2021
.@naomirwolf sounds the alarm on the push for ‘vaccine passports’: “I am not overstating this, I can’t say it forcefully enough, this is literally the end of human liberty in the West if this plan unfolds…”#NextRevFNC pic.twitter.com/rmAC3YKKP4
— The Next Revolution (@NextRevFNC) March 29, 2021
Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina told Fox News that vaccine passport schemes “smack of 1940s Nazi Germany. We must make every effort to keep America from becoming a ‘show your papers’ society. The Constitution and our founding principles decry this type of totalitarianism.”
“America faces a dangerous future when its leader’s ideology shares more commonalities with Leninism than liberalism,” he said.
DeSantis spoke as he signed a bill that would provide protection for Florida businesses that might be targeted for lawsuits by anyone claiming they contracted COVID-19 due to a lack of preventive steps at an establishment, despite good faith efforts by the business.
“We don’t want to be in a situation where people are scared of being sued just for doing normal things,” DeSantis said.
“We worked very early on to look at to see ways that we could provide some certainty for both businesses, and health care providers,” he said. “This was obviously a top priority for many of us up here. And I think that the Legislature has been able to deliver today.”
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