Vaccination records have been pushed back in some US states. On Tuesday in Ohio, two Republican lawmakers passed laws banning their use.
Representatives Al Cutrona and Mike Loychik said they are working to promote legislation together to prevent companies from requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination to allow people to enter an area or facility.
“Ohioans are encouraged to take the COVID-19 vaccine for the health and wellbeing of themselves and others,” Cutrona said in a statement Tuesday. “However, a vaccine should not be mandated or required by our government in order to restore our people to a sense of normalcy. We have had restrictions on our freedoms for over a year, and further restrictions or mandates are not the answer to every related issue with COVID-19. “
The statement comes amid growing excitement for the use of vaccination records, a form of digital documentation that Americans can use to prove they have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Proponents of a vaccination record system say it could allow nations to open international or domestic travel faster, and encourage more people to get the shot and return to a sense of normalcy.
Requiring individuals to provide evidence of a vaccine for travel is not a new concept worldwide. Nations around the world have been demanding that travelers provide evidence of vaccination against diseases such as yellow fever, rubella, cholera, and poliovirus for decades.
Countries like Denmark, Japan, Israel and Greece have already put forward plans to introduce digital coronavirus vaccine passports to expand opportunities for travel and socializing.
Vaccination records are being pushed back in some US states, including Ohio and Florida. On the top in Paris on March 3, there is a vial marked “COVID-19 vaccine” and a syringe on a European passport.
JOEL SAGET / Getty Images
In the United States, where vaccine reluctance remains relatively high and many have raised privacy and personal freedoms concerns, the idea has met with significant setback.
On Monday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis reiterated concerns that a vaccination record would be an invasion of privacy and said he plans to take executive action against its implementation.
“It is not completely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to require you to provide evidence of vaccine in order to simply participate in normal society,” he said.
In Kentucky, the state Libertarian Party compared vaccination records with indicators the Nazis used to identify Jewish people during the Holocaust.
It was tweeted, “Will the vaccination records be yellow, star-shaped, and sewn onto our clothes?” in a reference comparing the program to the yellow stars sewn on the clothing of the Jewish people to identify them during World War II.
The negative comments came after New York became the first state to introduce a vaccination pass known as the “Excelsior Pass” on Friday.
The digital passport can be downloaded as a QR code into a phone app and scanned as proof of vaccination. Officials hope that there will be more crowds at events such as weddings or large entertainment venues.
President Joe Biden’s administration has also indicated support for a vaccination record, but has stated that the federal government will not be the one to issue vaccine cards or keep citizens’ vaccination information in a database.
Instead, a private vaccination record would be monitored by the private sector while the US government would focus on providing guidance.
“Unlike other parts of the world, the government here does not see its role as a place to create a passport or a place to keep citizens’ data. We see this as something the private sector does and will do,” Andy said White House coronavirus adviser Slavitt on Monday.
“What is important to us, and we are currently in an interagency process to go through these details, is that some important criteria be met with these credentials,” he added.
Newsweek contacted Cutrona and Loychik for further comments, but was unable to receive any clarifications in time for publication.