NEW YORK (NewsNation Now) — At state Capitols across the country, lawmakers are advancing legislation to ban COVID-19 vaccine passport requirements for businesses and schools.
The vaccination passports currently exist in one state — a limited government partnership in New York with a private company — but that hasn’t stopped GOP lawmakers in a handful of states, including Pennsylvania, from rushing out legislative proposals to ban their use.
Republican lawmakers in Harrisburg oppose the idea and say they hope it has no shot in Pennsylvania.
The vaccine passport is proof that you had your shot to get onto a plane, into a concert, Hershey Park or a Phillies game.
In late March, the White House said it would not issue a federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential but instead leave it to the private sector to take the lead on the verification of COVID-19 vaccines or so-called vaccine passports.
But experts say most of the bills will never become law and instead negatively affect public faith in medical science.
“The thought of a state mandating that people take a vaccine that’s still experimental, according to the manufacturers of the vaccine, would be considered a gross violation of the individual freedom of Hoosiers,” said State Rep. John Jacob (R-Ind.).
“Government should not require any Texan to have proof of vaccination,” said Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.
It’s generally more about civil liberties than vaccine skepticism — but the end result, experts said, can be very much the same. That’s because the truth is often mixed in with skepticism and conspiracy theories. The public is left to figure out which is which, based on the words and actions of those they’ve placed in positions of trust.
The result are visible across the country.
While New York rolled out the “Excelsior Pass,” a digital vaccine passport, lawmakers in Indiana worked on a bill that includes a vaccine passport ban. It passed by a wide margin, just as many Hoosier state health departments saw an uptick in no-shows for COVID-19 shots.
“And so, we have some openings,” Indiana University Health’s Kristen Kelley told NewsNation affiliate WXIN in Indianapolis. “More than I’m comfortable with.”
“I don’t know where they’re getting the info,” said Katrina Bellis.
In Miami, a well-known private school said it won’t employ anyone who’s received the coronavirus vaccine over concern the shots might not be safe. In a letter to parents, Centner Academy said it was a difficult decision, outlining a policy based on a debunked conspiracy theory.
It’s left many scientists shaking their heads but bowing to lawmakers who say they’re engaged in a fight for privacy and personal freedom.
Legislation against mandated vaccination is currently being advanced in more than 40 states.