DeSantis vows to take executive action against ‘vaccine passports’
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) vowed to take executive action this week banning “vaccine passports” that businesses and local governments could potentially require to show digital or physical proof of vaccination against COVID-19.
The Florida governor said during a Monday press conference that he would take action by “an executive function, emergency function” against vaccine passports and requested the Republican state legislature draft a bill forbidding such passports.
“We always said we wanted to provide it for all but mandate it for none,” DeSantis said in Tallahassee. “And that was something that, while it was advised to take particularly if you’re vulnerable, we were not going to force you to do it.”
“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 participate in normal society,” he added.
DeSantis said he believes people “have certain freedoms and individual liberties” to decide whether to get the vaccine and conveyed concerns about privacy if such a program was launched.
“You’re going to do this and what, give all this information to some big corporation?” the governor said. “You want the fox to guard the hen house? I mean give me a break.”
The governor’s press conference followed his signing of legislation that protects businesses and schools from COVID-19-related lawsuits. DeSantis has previously expressed his disapproval of vaccine passports, which some countries including Denmark, have already begun implementing.
New York was the first state in the U.S. to announce its vaccine passport program called Excelsior Pass which will use a QR code to get into different venues.
Andy Slavitt, White House senior adviser on COVID-19, said earlier Monday that the federal government is not “viewing its role as the place to create a passport, nor a place to hold the data of citizens.”
“We view this as something that the private sector is doing and will do,” he said, noting that the government plans to ensure equitable access to and privacy of these programs.
“It is important for us, and it will be – we will be very clear about how that will happen, that the guidelines that I just talked about are part of that process,” he added.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki reiterated Slavitt’s comments during a press briefing, adding that there will not be a “centralized, universal federal vaccinations database” and “no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential.”