Ron DeSantis has vowed to take executive action in Florida against “totally unacceptable” vaccine passport plans over fears of privacy.
The governor dismissed President Joe Biden’s potential plan that would allow Americans to return to pre-pandemic activities such as travel and shopping by proving they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Biden’s administration is working with private companies to develop the passes that would likely be available for free through smartphones, The Washington Post reported.
But DeSantis said the plans would have “ massive privacy implications ” that would violate personal freedoms.
The Republican said at a news conference at the Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee on Monday, “We don’t support that. I think it’s something that people have certain freedoms and individual freedoms to make their own decisions.
“It is completely unacceptable for both the government and the private sector to require you to show proof of vaccination just to participate in normal society.”
Ron DeSantis has rejected Joe Biden’s “totally unacceptable” plans for vaccine passports
The governor dismissed the president’s potential plan that would allow Americans to return to pre-pandemic activities such as travel and shopping by proving they have been vaccinated.
The Biden government said there are currently at least 17 different passport initiatives being developed by public and private entities, while the World Health Organization is working to develop a ‘smart certificate of vaccination’.
New York State officials recently launched a digital pass showing proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.
The Excelsior Pass is accepted at major entertainment venues such as Madison Square Garden and Albany’s Times Union Center, and residents can use it in an app or print it.
But there are concerns about the privacy data required for passports and about accessibility issues for people at a socioeconomic disadvantage.
The developers must also ensure that the systems are not breached and that false digital passports are not issued. Another dilemma is how long immunity lasts and whether to take COVID-19 variants into account.
New York State officials recently launched the Excelsior digital pass (photo) showing proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test
Excelsior officials say the app does not store or track private health data in the app and works as a boarding pass for a mobile airline with a secure QR code.
But DeSantis wants the state legislature to oppose the passes that could cause Americans to be discriminated against for not being vaccinated.
He said, ‘I think this is something that has huge privacy implications. There is no need to do. ‘
He previously warned if ‘people try to do it in private, we might have a role to play there too, because I think it’s unacceptable’.
Other countries and organizations, including the European Union, China and Japan, are working on their own versions of the vaccine passports.
In Israel, the most vaccinated country in the world, public events have resumed for those vaccinated.
Visitors must present a ‘Green Pass’, a government-validated certificate stating that they had received both doses of the vaccine more than a week prior to the event or that they had recovered from COVID-19 and were suspected of being immune.
The passes are valid for six months from the time of full vaccination.
Sources said the Biden government’s efforts are being led by the Ministry of Health and Human Services.
White House coronavirus tsar Jeff Zients is coordinating with several government agencies.
“ Our role is to ensure that all solutions in this area must be simple, free, open source, accessible to people both digitally and on paper, and designed from the ground up to protect people’s privacy, ” Zients said on March 12. against reporters.
Zients is expected to provide more information on the government’s efforts to develop the passport later this week.
However, there is concern that the government’s embrace of the project could be interpreted by some as a government mandate for citizens to get vaccinated.
“If it became a government mandate, it would go down a dark road very quickly,” Brian Castrucci, the head of the Maryland-based Beaumont Foundation, told the Post.
The foundation is a public health group that funds research into why some Americans are skeptical of the vaccine.
Castrucci said the administration should encourage private companies to take the lead in developing the passport.
[The passport] becomes a reference. It’s’ going to need your papers, ‘if you like,’ said Castrucci.
“That can be dangerous – and it can turn people off.”
The road to normalcy seems bumpy.