Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) vowed that he would issue an executive order forbidding local governments and businesses from requiring “vaccine passports” to show digital or physical proof of vaccination against COVID-19, The Hill reports.
At a news conference, the Florida governor announced he would introduce “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 should “have certain freedoms and individual liberties”.
“I think this is something that has huge privacy implications. It is not necessary to do,” DeSantis warned.
“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 made the comments at the Florida State Capitol, after he signed a separate bill into law designed to shield businesses and schools from lawsuits related to the coronavirus pandemic.
DeSantis has previously expressed his disapproval of vaccine passports, describing them as a “terrible idea” and wouldn’t get support in Florida.
New York is the first state in the US to formally launch such a passport.
The program, the “Excelsior Pass,” is an app which will use a QR code that allows New Yorkers to gain entry to events and businesses.
Andy Slavitt, White House senior adviser on COVID-19, said Monday that it would not be imposing any restrictions at the federal level related to vaccine passports, like keeping a nationwide database of those inoculated.
“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.
Biden’s Press Secretary, Jen Psaki, reiterated Slavitt’s comments during a press briefing Monday, that the government would leave it up to the ‘private sector’ on whether they want to require proof of vaccination before allowing customers inside their establishments. There will not be a “centralized, universal federal vaccinations database” and “no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential,” Psaki added.