Local GOP lawmakers oppose vaccine passports

Coronavirus

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The use of vaccine passports is being debated around the world, and here at home.

Also called health certificates or travel passes, the documentation shows a traveler has received a COVID-19 vaccine or recently tested negative for the virus.

This week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the Biden administration wouldn’t support a system requiring Americans to carry a credential, nor a vaccination database.

Still, many lawmakers are taking a stand against any such requirement. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis last week banned businesses from requiring customers to show proof they’ve been vaccinated, and others have followed suit.

On Tuesday, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said he would not support a state-mandated vaccine passport.

“While the development of multiple safe, highly effective COVID-19 vaccines has been a scientific miracle, the decision to receive the vaccine should be left up to each individual,” he tweeted.

Despite the White House indicating a hands-off approach, a group of U.S. House members sent a letter to President Joe Biden with questions and concerns about a potential passport program.

GOP Rep. Buddy Carter, who represents Georgia’s 1st congressional district, said he encourages all Americans to get the vaccine but wouldn’t support a credential to prove so.

“Americans must have the freedom to choose what is best for their health and the health of their families,” Carter stated, in part. “Requiring a vaccine passport not only violates these individual freedoms, it also puts personal health information at risk.

“The federal government should be focused on ensuring all Americans who want a vaccine are able to get one instead of working to place vaccine requirements on our citizens.”

Rep. Nancy Mace, a Republican representing the Lowcountry, said requiring vaccine documentation could, in turn, discourage people from getting vaccinated.

“American citizens should never be forced to ‘show their papers’ just to live their everyday lives,” she stated.

New York is the first state in the U.S. to introduce a vaccine passport in partnership with a private company.

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