Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has vowed to sign an executive order on Monday to ban businesses in the state from requiring vaccine passports.
“We are not supporting doing any vaccine passports in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said. “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 also called on Florida Republicans to consider state legislation to support a ban on vaccine passports. The governor tweeted, “You want the fox to guard the hen house? I mean, give me a break. I think this is something that has huge privacy implications. It is not necessary to do.”
The announcement follows a Biden Administration report that it is working to develop vaccine credentials for Americans to show proof of vaccination. DeSantis argues the move has huge privacy implications for Americans.
Many of the plans in development for a vaccine passport include integration with smartphone apps. The credentials could include a VR code on a phone or be printed out like an airline ticket. Many companies already claim they will require proof of vaccine to allow people to attend concerts, sporting events or for travel.
Several concerns stand in the way of implementing such a system. For example, only approximately 30 percent of eligible Americans have received a vaccination so far. Are these the only people who will be able to travel or conduct certain business?
There is also a growing disparity among those who could access and use a vaccine passport. Reports are already growing that those who are wealthier have greater access to vaccinations. In addition, access to a smartphone with a vaccine passport could also rule out many low-income Americans.
As DeSantis noted, there are also tremendous privacy concerns. Many Americans have reservations about taking the vaccine due to personal health reasons. Would these Americans be forced to stay at home or no longer be able to operate with other business sectors?
What about Americans who choose not to share their health data with the app providers who will run the vaccine passport programs? Sharing personal health information is quickly becoming a civil liberties issue, and one a growing number of conservatives are noticing.
Gov. DeSantis has become known for his strong opposition to government lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. The state became one of the first to reopen for business and school, encouraging Floridians with the message that “every job is essential.”
The approach stands in stark contrast with blue states like California and New York that have extended lockdown measures for more than a year. Many public schools in California have yet to return to in-person learning, yet the state’s COVID-19 cases remain higher than those in Florida.
The state’s example has led to other states rolling back restrictions with a common-sense approach to the pandemic. Recent states to end mask mandates include Texas, Mississippi and New Hampshire.
DeSantis knows it’s best for federal government to stay out of vaccination passport business. He’s out to do his part to set the example with his state to oppose big government restrictions on Americans.