States Fight Back Against Vaccine Passports, Calling It 'End of Human Liberty'

(Unsplash/Lukas)

The vaccine passport will become America's first social credit scorekeeping system, and many states are already fighting back with legislation.

Vaccine passports can be paper or a digital code or app that records and displays the user's health information, including COVID-19 vaccination status. Digital health or vaccine passports display a scannable code similar to an airline boarding pass. Tracking and tracing apps monitor the user's movement and interactions with other people. The tracking and tracing app in Israel alerts the user who may be exposed to COVID and can direct the user to quarantine. The app will issue a warning if the user moves outside of the quarantine zone.

The vaccine passport is being promoted worldwide to limit a person's ability to leave home, work, shop, dine, travel, attend a public event or even worship. Vaccine passports and tracking and tracing apps pre-date COVID and will not end with COVID. The implications for freedom are significant.

Dr. Naomi Wolf, an author and Rhodes Scholar, predicts that the vaccine passport would eventually track every aspect of people's lives and would violate the U.S. Constitution, the Americans With Disabilities Act and HIPAA.

Dr. Wolf said, "I cannot say this forcefully enough: This is literally the end of human liberty in the West if this plan unfolds as planned. ... Vaccine passports sound like a fine thing if you don't know what those platforms can do. I'm CEO of a tech company, I understand what this platform does. It's not about the vaccine, it's not about the virus, it's about data. And once this rolls out you don't have a choice about being part of the system. What people have to understand is that any other functionality can be loaded onto that platform with no problem at all.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Technology Review states, "This new social order will seem unthinkable to most people in so-called free countries. But any change can quickly become normal if people accept it. The new normal will be that we are used to the idea that in some cases being able to move around freely is dependent on us being able to show that we're healthy. There will be a greater acceptance, I think, of that kind of public health monitoring."

One of the teams working on vaccine passports is the Vaccination Credential Initiative. Mitre, a nonprofit company that runs federally funded research centers, is helping lead the initiative and aiming to release its free software standards soon in hopes that developers will use them to help build digital vaccine records that allow people to show they have been inoculated. The Vaccination Credential Initiative includes the Mayo Clinic, Microsoft and more than 225 other organizations, many of which have pledged to use the code when administering shots.

On March 26, New York rolled out its "Excelsior Pass" system that would mandate people show that they have been vaccinated when trying to enter certain events and locations. Some fans attending two recent games in New York City helped test a new digital health pass developed by the state and IBM. Madison Square Garden and the Times Union Center, as well as the City University of New York, will be utilizing the pass for upcoming events.

Health officials in Orange County, California, announced a "Digital Passport" that "enables individuals to participate safely and with peace of mind in activities that involve interactions with other people, including travel, attractions, conferences/meetings, concerts, sports, school and more.

However, many states have already banned the federal government from implementing a vaccine passports system, citing serious concerns that it impedes upon individual freedom and privacy.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order stating that no government agencies may issue any vaccine passport, and that private businesses will not be allowed to require proof of vaccination from customers to enter the building or get served. He 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."

Gov. DeSantis' executive order states, "Requiring so-called COVID-19 vaccine passports for taking part in everyday life—such as attending a sports event, patronizing a restaurant, or going to a movie theater—would create two classes of citizens based on vaccination."

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order and said, "Government should not require any Texan to show proof of vaccination and reveal private health information just to go about their daily lives. I issued an Executive Order that prohibits government-mandated vaccine passports in Texas. Don't tread on our personal freedoms."

Gov. Kristi Noem also issued an executive order banning federal government-mandated vaccine passports in South Dakota.

Noem said, "Since the start of the COVID pandemic, we have provided the people of South Dakota with up-to-date science, facts, and data and then trusted them to exercise their personal responsibility to make the best decisions for themselves and their loved ones. We've resisted government mandates, and our state is stronger for it ... We are not going to restrict South Dakotans' exercise of their freedoms with un-American policies like vaccine passports. In our state, 'Under God, the people rule.' And that is how we will operate for as long as I am governor."

Noem's three-page-long executive order cites a study in the New England Journal of Medicine that reports vaccination rates among minority and low-income populations will likely remain disproportionately lower. The order reads, "Any rationale for imposing public health restrictions that limit freedoms should be tailored to mitigate a verifiable, scientific risk, and ... implementing a vaccine passport program could lead to unjustified, non-science-based restrictions on travel, speech, association, and other civil rights," the executive order reads.

In Montana, Gov. Greg Gianforte has issued an executive order banning the development or use of vaccine passports in Montana.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order that bars the state and local governments from requiring that residents show COVID-19 "vaccine passports" to enter an area or receive a service.

Ducey said, "The residents of our state should not be required by the government to share their private medical information. While we strongly recommend all Arizonans get the COVID-19 vaccine, it's not mandated in our state—and it never will be. Vaccination is up to each individual, not the government."

Rep. Andy Biggs in Arizona introduced legislation called the "No Vaccine Passports Act," that would prohibit federal authorities from future issuance of any standardized documentation that could be used to certify COVID-19 vaccination status to third parties, like airlines or restaurants, and also prohibit proof of COVID-19 vaccination from being a requirement to access federal or congressional property and services.

The bill states, "An agency may not issue a vaccine passport, vaccine pass, or other standardized documentation for the purpose of certifying the COVID-19 vaccination status of a citizen of the United States to a third party, or otherwise publish or share any COVID-19 vaccination record of a citizen of the United States, or similar health information."

"My private healthcare decisions—and yours—are nobody else's business," Biggs said. "Vaccine passports will not help our nation recover from COVID-19, instead, they will simply impose more Big Brother surveillance on our society."

Gov. Brad Little signed an executive order banning any Idaho governmental entity from requiring vaccine passports for citizens to receive public services or access facilities.

In Utah, a new law blocks the government from requiring people to get COVID-19 "vaccines," but companies can use so-called vaccine passports to determine who has been inoculated. The state legislature passed the measure and Gov. Spencer Cox signed it.

The Tennessee Senate passed a bill which bans vaccine passports on a state level and would also take away public health powers from county boards of health. If the bill makes it through the state House, it will depend on the governor to sign it into law. However, Gov. Bill Lee has expressed his disapproval for vaccine passports.

Lee said, "I oppose vaccine passports. The COVID-19 vaccine should be a personal health choice, not a government requirement. ... I am supporting legislation to prohibit any government-mandated vaccine passports to protect the privacy of Tennesseans' health information and ensure this vaccine remains a voluntary, personal decision."

In Kansas, Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly said, "We will not be issuing those under my authority, for sure, and we have a lot of other things to deal with—things that will make a difference in people's safety and health."

While there is currently no legislative effort to ban vaccine passports in Kansas, members of the state legislature have proposed a resolution urging the state to adopt a "COVID-19 Vaccine Bill of Rights," which would strip a state license from interstate transportation companies, such as airlines, if they require travelers to be vaccinated.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said, "I do NOT support a vaccine passport and have no intention of implementing one in the State of Missouri. ... We're never gonna do that in the state of Missouri. We're never gonna have a mandate, a vaccine passport in this state. If people want to carry a card that's fine. That's called freedom, it's called individual rights. But it's not government's place to do that," he said.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp voiced his disapproval for the passports and said, "I do not and will not support any kind of state-mandated vaccine passport. While the development of multiple safe, highly effective COVID-19 vaccines has been a scientific miracle, the decision to receive the vaccine should be left up to each individual."

An Alabama House committee has approved a bill that would prevent public and private agencies from denying services to individuals based on their vaccination status. The measure, SB 267, passed the House Health Committee Wednesday morning with little debate. The legislation heads to the House for further consideration. It passed the Senate on April 8.

In her article, "The End of America?," Dr. Wolf writes "The new biofascism in the West, very much driven by Big Tech leaders, and soon to be exploited by our enemies geopolitically, is a war against free human beings and against the qualities that make us human. But this time we do not just face a war on freedom. This time we face a war on human beings, and on all that makes us human."

Liberty Counsel founder and chairman Mat Staver said, "Digital health or vaccine passports along with tracking and tracing apps present a serious threat to freedom. Vaccine passports and tracking apps are about collecting data and control. COVID is being used to advance this dangerous threat to freedom. We must never accept vaccine passports or tracking apps as the new normal."

This article originally appeared on lc.org.

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