Governments and political leaders across the world have shown their support for a “vaccine passport” – the certification of proof that you are inoculated. However, in the United States, the idea of having a vaccine passport has been met with swift resistance.
Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary, said Tuesday, “The government is not now nor will we be supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential.”
The nation has been seeing resistance to vaccine passports from all sides, with conservative leaders saying that will resist any such movement, arguing that it is an infringement of individual freedoms.
Some leaders have even raised concerns over vaccine passport schemes, stating that they are likely to exacerbate ongoing inequality issues.
This type of resistance is not new in the United States; in fact, it has a peculiar public health history.
David Rosner, a professor of Socio-Medical Sciences at Columbia University, said, “This is not a country that has necessarily deep heritage belief in government or in science. The idea of having ID cards or green passes here, I think it’s going to create another giant political crisis.”
Prof. Rosner said he has seen some form of nationalized vaccine certification as one of the beneficial steps. However, he also predicted that most people could see a vaccine passport as an “intrusion.”
Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is against a vaccine passport. In an opinion piece for The Hill, he wrote that any required proof of vaccination would be “full-on vaccine fascism,” urging readers to “burn your vaccine passport if they try to give it to you, and vote out any politician who won’t do the same.”
Prof. Rosner expressed concerns over the issuing of a vaccine certificate, stating that some may see it as “a way out” of the COVID pandemic, but for others, it will be “just another attempt by the government to gather control,” according to BBC.
“It would be nice to have something on my iPhone that said, you know, I’ve had the vaccine,” Prof. Rosner added. “But in the context of a very strange American political history around disease, I doubt if it makes sense to a lot of people.”
Meanwhile, in Florida and Texas, Republican governors have issued executive orders banning the use of mandated vaccine passports.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said, “We will continue to vaccinate more Texans and protect public health. And we will do so without treading on Texans’ personal freedoms.”
However, a few universities in Democratic states, such as Brown, Northeastern, and Cornell, have announced that they plan to require a vaccine passport for students who will be returning to on-campus learning. The story was originally published on BBC.