Debate on vaccine passport requirements


Georgia Governor Brian Kemp said on Tuesday: “I do not and will not support any type of state-mandated vaccine passport.”

ATLANTA – Opposition is growing against so-called “vaccine passports”. The idea is to require people to prove that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

No proof could mean no access to concerts, restaurants, air travel and other places that want to require proof.

Privacy advocates say it would cross a line far beyond the public health benefits.

Many airlines and governments around the world are preparing to provide travelers with access to a smartphone app that will allow them to prove they have received a COVID vaccine, before they can board a plane or enter a country.

The promise is that all personal data would be encrypted and only stay on one person’s phone, not on someone else’s server.

It is expected that the requirement of so-called “vaccine passports” or “vaccination certificates” would protect public health and safety.

And vaccine credentials wouldn’t just be required for air travel.

Microsoft, the Mayo Clinic, and others formed the Vaccine Credential Initiative.

They offer standardized vaccine credentials that people could take with them, on a smartphone or on a piece of paper, as a requirement to participate in a baseball game, or in a grocery store, or restaurant, or restaurant. airplane. , or anywhere else.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp posted on social media on Tuesday: “I do not and will not support any type of state-mandated vaccine passport,” he wrote.

He added that “the decision to receive the vaccine should be left to each individual.”

RELATED: Governor Kemp Says He Doesn’t Support The Idea of ​​a Vaccination Passport

In practice, some people who wish to be vaccinated but cannot be vaccinated, for example for medical reasons or for access to the vaccine, could not obtain the vaccination card. And others who have received the vaccine but would not want to show evidence on demand could also be left out.

Emory University Center for Ethics director Paul Root Wolpe said requiring credentials for vaccines would set a bad precedent.

“There are compelling reasons for doing it, it helps reduce the spread of disease,” Wolpe said, “but its actual implementation is really problematic. You end up creating two classes of people – one with privileges, one sans – and because of the way the immunization trends are happening in our country, the sans tend to be poor, tend to be more people of color, tend to be disenfranchised.

“So you really created a privileged class and not a privileged class,” Wolpe said. “How far are we going to go to get people to prove they have certain types of vaccines? And for how many different diseases are we going to ask that? So, we are really opening up a sort of Pandora’s box if we require mandatory vaccination IDs.

Already, governors of other states are banning state governments and private companies from requiring vaccination IDs.

Yet the United States has long required that children have certain vaccines before children can enroll in school.

And many countries have long required travelers to have certain vaccines before they can get visas, and some countries are now adding the COVID vaccine to their lists, something the World Health Organization is opposed to.

RELATED: Biden Moves COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Date to April 19

“We would not like to see the vaccination passport as a condition of entry or exit” in and out of countries, said the WHO’s Margaret Harris, “because we are not sure that at this stage the vaccine is preventing transmission. And there are all these other issues, aside from the issue of discrimination against people who cannot get vaccinated for one reason or another. “

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday that President Joe Biden does not support that vaccine credentials are required by the government or the private sector.

“The government is not now, and neither will we support a system that requires Americans to wear a degree,” Psaki said. “There will be no federal immunization database and no federal mandate requiring everyone to get a single proof of immunization.

“As these tools are being considered by the private and not-for-profit sectors, our interest is very simple on the part of the federal government that the privacy and rights of Americans must be protected, and that these systems are not not used unfairly against people, ”Psaki said. .

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