A new plan is emerging that may soon regulate the daily life of millions of Americans: “vaccine passports.” According to a recent article in The Washington Post, vaccine passports are now “on the way.”
The Post reports that the Biden administration is working together with private companies to develop vaccine passports, a way for Americans to prove to businesses that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
“The passports are expected to be free and available through applications for smartphones, which could display a scannable code similar to an airline boarding pass,” The Post writes.
If the idea takes hold, it’s conceivable that many companies, including restaurants, grocery stores, movie theaters, airlines, and any other in-person business, could require someone to display their passport to engage in commerce.
Brian Castrucci, who leads a public health group, told The Post that many Americans may be concerned about a government-supported proof of vaccination credential in order to go about their daily lives.
“If it became a government mandate, it would go down a dark road very quickly… It becomes a credential. It becomes a ‘needing your papers,’ if you will. That could be dangerous — and it could turn off people,” Castrucci said.
In a press conference on Monday following a bill signing, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said his state would not go along with the idea.
“We are not supporting doing any vaccine passports in the state of Florida… We always said we want to provide [the vaccine] for all but mandate it for none,” 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.
“You want to go to a movie theater? Should you have to show that? No. You want to go to a game? No. You want to go to a theme park? No.
“So, we are not supportive of that. I think it is something that people have certain freedoms and individual liberties to make decisions for themselves. I also wonder… you are going to do this and then what, give all this information to some big corporation? You want a fox to guard the henhouse? I mean give me a break.
“We are not going to have you provide proof of this just to be able to live your life normally,” Gov. DeSantis said.
The governor then went on to announce that he is going to take executive action this week against vaccine passports and is working with the Florida state legislature to say, “this is not happening in Florida.”
In a recent interview on Fox News’ “The Next Revolution,” liberal feminist Naomi Wolf also spoke out forcefully against “vaccine passports.”
“I am not overstating this, I can’t say it forcefully enough, this is literally the end of human liberty in the West if this plan unfolds,” Wolf stated. She went on to raise concerns about how the plan may be implemented, and how much power big tech companies may gain as a result.
Some Americans may favor the vaccine passport idea to help businesses limit the spread of COVID-19. On the other hand, others may be fearful of a potentially government-run program that has, as its effect, a significant limitation on freedom for those Americans who choose not to get vaccinated.
Will those who are not vaccinated be left out in the cold, unable to do anything other than shop online?
Focus on the Family will not make a specific recommendation as to whether someone should get vaccinated. That is a personal decision, and individuals should weigh the potential benefits against the risks.
However, we are committed to helping families make educated decisions about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. That is why late last year, Focus President Jim Daly interviewed two doctors about the COVID-19 vaccine to address practical concerns the many may have as well as whether the vaccines were ethically developed. You can watch or listen to the interview here.
Over the past year, millions of Christians have been concerned and outraged by some governmental authorities who have placed severe, and sometimes seemingly unnecessary, restrictions on worship. With vaccine passports on the way, many may feel even more at odds with a government that is supposed to exist to serve them. But this struggle is nothing new.
Over the course of the 2,000-year history of the church, Christians have grappled with how or whether to obey governments that turn hostile to their beliefs.
Focus on the Family believes in the importance of social responsibility, and that God has ordained the family, church, and government for our good. But the conflict that can occur between Christians and government is a good remind that for believers, this world is not our permanent home. “The world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:17, ESV)
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