4 News Now Q&A: Should ‘vaccine passports’ be required?

Q: Should ‘vaccine passports’ be required? 

A: As more people get a vaccine, there is a growing debate around the nation about vaccine passports. The White House has made it clear there will be no federal mandate that would require every American to get a vaccine credential. But the fight involving private institutions — and privacy — is just getting started.

Some Republican governors are opposed to these passports. Idaho Gov. Brad Little just announced this week he will sign an executive order banning their use by any state governmental agency; Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is blocking businesses from requiring them, stating they “would create two classes of citizens based on vaccination.” Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott issued an executive order prohibiting government-mandated passports.

But in New York, they are already rolling out. People are using a digital app called Excelsior Pass to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test.

Obviously, it’s a hot button issue. Should you have to prove you’ve been vaccinated? Is that even legal?

“For a private business, it’s pretty clear that they’re allowed to implement health protocols as they see fit,” ABC News Chief Legal Analyst Dan Abrams said. “Remember, even the state is allowed to demand that people get vaccines. So no doubt that private businesses are allowed to say ‘We’re going to demand this.'”

“If it’s an employer, you have to think about those exemptions. Although, I think the employer could still say ‘You can’t come into the office,’ but they’d have to make accommodations for the person to do their work elsewhere,” Abrams said.

Like it or not, people who want to travel abroad may soon be required to have a vaccine passport to enter certain countries, or having one may help them avoid quarantine once they arrive. Israel has already instituted a vaccine passport, which allows holders to go to restaurants and gyms. Britain and the EU are considering them; Australia, Denmark and Sweden are doing the same.

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