New York last week became the first state in the nation to implement a COVID-19 “vaccine passport.”
While other states are set to follow suit, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wants not part of 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,” the Republican said. “You want to go to a movie theater, should you have to show that? No. You want to go to a game, a theme park? No. So we’re not supportive of that.”
“We always said we wanted to provide it for all but mandate it for none,” DeSantis said at a press conference on Monday. “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.”
The governor, often mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2024, said Americans should be able to make their own health decisions, and he voiced concerns over privacy.
“You’re going to do this and, what, give all this information to some big corporation? You want the fox to guard the hen house? I mean give me a break,” the governor said. “I think this is something that has huge privacy implications. It is not necessary to do.”
Beginning Friday in New York, state residents “will be able to pull up a code on their cellphone or a printout to prove they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19 or recently tested negative for the virus that causes it,” USA Today reported.
But the national newspaper said corporations will not have access to medical information.
“The New York system, built on IBM’s digital health pass platform, is provided via blockchain technology, so neither IBM nor any business will have access to private medical information. An entertainment venue will simply scan the QR code and get a green check mark or a red X,” the paper said.
Called the Excelsior Pass, the passport will be at first used at large venues like Madison Square Garden. But next week, arts and entertainment venues across the state will be using it.
“As they would with an airline boarding pass, people will be able to prove their health status with a digital QR code – or ‘quick response’ machine-readable label,” USA Today reported.
“They’ll need to download the Excelsior Pass app, enter their name, date of birth, and ZIP code, and answer a series of personal questions to confirm their identity. The data will come from the state’s vaccine registry and will be linked to testing data from a number of pre-approved testing companies.”
The cell phone app was pushed by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo as a way to help reopen businesses hurt by the pandemic. The program is funded by state taxpayers and and available free to businesses.