‘Red states should ban it now’: Walmart to offer ‘immunity passports’ for COVID vaccine jab

Walmart has announced that it is making available a digital immunity passport for those who have received the COVID-19 vaccination at their retail stores or at the company-owned Sam’s Club warehouse outlets.

In touting this initiative, Walmart expressed pride that it is the first retailer to enter into a joint venture with the nonprofit Commons Project Foundation, which operates digital platforms for “the common good,” and the technology firm CLEAR, which describes itself as a “leader in identity and access.”

Customers will be able to “conveniently” access their health records, including vaccination data, via an app. “These platforms are free to users who choose to use them in order to verify their vaccine status to safely return to travel, work, school, sports events, entertainment and other venues while protecting their health data privacy,” Walmart explained in a statement.

“Our goal is to give customers vaccinated at Walmart free and secure digital access to their vaccine record and enable them to share that information with third parties seeking to confirm their vaccination status,” Walmart U.S. CEO and President John Furner explained.

The process starts with individuals creating a free digital account on either the Walmart or Sam’s Club app when they schedule a vaccine appointment, after which they can download one of the passport apps.

“The company said people who get Covid shots at Walmart and Sam’s Club stores will be able to use free health passport apps to verify their vaccination records and then generate smartphone codes that could allow them to board a plane or enter a sports area,” The New York Times noted.

Even as civil liberties advocates have warned about the potential for privacy violations and the creation of a bifurcated society, Walmart’s project may be a prelude of things to come. Since a vaccine passport mandate would likely be subject to constitutional challenges, it raises concerns in some quarters the government might delegate, intentionally or unintentionally, to the private sector the requirement for individuals get the COVID shot as a condition of navigating through everyday society.

Late last year, for example, the International Air Transport Association, the global lobbying organization for the industry, was reportedly finalizing a plan for a universal digital health pass as a condition for boarding a plane for international or perhaps domestic travel. Some airlines on an individual basis are exploring the same.

The state of New York has recently rolled out a pilot program that requires a COVID-19 digital passport as a condition of entry to certain venues such as Madison Square Garden or the Barclays Center.

Israel is one of the countries which have already implemented a vaccine passport program internally, and additional nations are considering it.

As Newsmax White House correspondent Emerald Robinson has observed, “The government is not allowed to conduct constant surveillance on Americans so it outsourced it to social media companies. The same thing is true of vaccine passports. It’s blatantly illegal. So the feds will let the private sector push the idea. Red states should ban it now.”

Other Twitter users also reacted negatively to the Walmart news, including Ohio U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel. Here is a sampling:

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Robert Jonathan

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