DeSantis says no way to ‘COVID-19 passports’ in Florida, while Jersey Gov. pushes ‘vaccine card’

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made it abundantly clear last week that there will be no mandated COVID-19 vaccine passports in his state, while New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has strongly indicated a “vaccine card” will be required in his.

“I just want to make very clear in Florida, we are not doing any vaccine passports. All those experts said that it was a bad idea. I think it’s a bad idea and so that will not happen,” DeSantis noted in remarks last week. “And so folks should get vaccinated, if they want to, we’ll obviously provide that, but under no circumstances will the state be asking you to show proof of vaccination, and I don’t think private companies should be doing that either.”

Desantis is leaving it up to Floridians to decide whether they want to get vaccinated or not. He’s also letting them personally choose what events they are comfortable attending, indicating that he may go after private companies in the state if they require proof of vaccination.

“To start going down the road of vaccine passports, I mean, you have some of these states saying to go to a sporting event, you have to show either a negative test or a vaccine proof. I think you just got to make decisions. If you want to go to an event, go to an event. If you don’t, don’t. But to be requiring people to provide all this proof, that’s not how you get society back to normal so we’re rejecting any vaccine passports here in the state of Florida,” he declared.

(Video Credit: WFLA)

Desantis also broached the subject in a meeting with medical personnel last Thursday, Fox 13 reported.

“We are definitely not going to require anything, from the state’s perspective. That is totally off the table,” DeSantis said. “If I have businesses that want to do that in Florida, I think that is more than just a private decision. I think that impacts our society. That impacts people, particularly disadvantaged people, in a way that would really be negative for our state.”

Attending the roundtable discussion with the governor were Dr. Martin Kulldorff, Dr. Scott Atlas, Professor Sunetra Gupta, and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya. All were in agreement with DeSantis and thought a “vaccine passport” is a terrible idea that would hurt more than help.

“The vaccine hesitancy data show that the people who are hesitant to take vaccines actually tend to be the working-class people, poor, poor people, minority populations. We’re going to then turn around and say, ‘You have to have a vaccine passport to participate in American life,’ it’s going to be a new vaccine Jim Crow. It’s a huge, huge mistake that will undermine trust in public health, and I think it’s just morally, it’s just morally wrong,” Dr. Bhattacharya said.

A number of countries including Israel are issuing “vaccine passports” to help the airlines and the travel industry recover this spring and summer. Israel’s “Green Pass” is being issued to their citizens to prove they have been vaccinated and the European Union has plans in place to require a “digital certificate” as proof of vaccination, according to Fox13. International travel may require that a passenger prove they have been inoculated.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, airline trade organizations, and airline labor unions are reportedly “lobbying the White House to take the lead in setting standards for health passes. They believe that would avoid a hodge-podge of regional credentials that could cause confusion among travelers and prevent any single health certificate from being widely accepted.”

New York is also planning to require an “Excelsior Pass” in order to prove that someone has received a recent negative COVID-19 test or vaccination.

Meanwhile, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy insinuated that proof of vaccination may be required in his state as well. “Don’t get rid of the card. That is likely to be something valuable. Laminate it. Put it in your wallet,” Murphy stated. He then added: “The CDC takes the lead, number one, but we have our own independent process. In terms of what that card, what value that card will have other than your own personal health, [is] to be determined.”

Murphy seemed to be strongly indicating that a vaccination card that proves a person received the vaccine may be a requirement for attending any type of public event or boarding flights.

The Republican Governors Association (RGA) claimed the governor’s suggestion is a “health privacy minefield.” They bluntly stated that Murphy’s constituents don’t require him “in the waiting room” with jurisdiction over their vaccination status.

“Governor Phil Murphy’s suggestion that Garden Staters could be required to show proof of vaccine is a health privacy minefield,” noted RGA spokesman Will Reinert. “Hard-working New Jersey residents have the right to keep their health care decisions between themselves and their doctor, and don’t need Phil Murphy in the waiting room telling patients to make sure they ‘laminate’ their vaccine card on the way out.”

Andy Slavitt, a White House virus-response adviser, also weighed in on the issue: “It’s not the role of the government to hold that data and to do that … It needs to be private, the data should be secure, the access to it should be free, it should be available both digitally and in paper and in multiple languages.”

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