CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC/CBS News) - The idea of vaccine passports — a form of proof that you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — has already become controversial, as local government and businesses consider whether to require them. They’ve also become a partisan issue, with Republicans across the country denouncing them as government overreach and an invasion of privacy.
Next week, California is beginning a new policy allowing event venues to require proof of vaccination or a negative test result.
But Florida’s Republican Governor, Ron DeSantis, issued an executive order banning vaccine passports statewide, and Republican lawmakers in states including Arkansas and Montana are pushing similar measures.
But some businesses, including airlines, already require proof of a negative COVID test for customers.
Israel introduced an app-based vaccine passport in February, and the European Union is planning to introduce them over the summer.
Stewart Harris teaches constitutional law at Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee, and he says it’s perfectly legal for the federal government, the state government and private businesses to require a vaccine passport.
“If you owned a business, if you owned a Mom and Pop business, and say you work there, your spouse works there, your kids work there, and you have other employees, shouldn’t you be able to protect them from unnecessary risks by requiring people to come in and wear a mask, for example, or,perhaps, now to show that they’ve been vaccinated?” he said.
Still, Infectious Disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci says the federal government won’t be mandating vaccine passports for travel and businesses.
The White House has indicated that any potential passports would come from the private sector, with little direct involvement from the government.