U.S. states that are supporting COVID-19 vaccine passports and those that are not.

Hayley Simonson, Managing Editor

COVID-19 vaccine passports are igniting much controversy. Many people are using the term “COVID-19 vaccine passports” to describe digital certificates that would prove vaccination status to get into events or businesses, whether it be through QR code, smartphone, or paper certificate. 

The idea of a passport serving as a domestic health requirement has concerned people who see it as a representation of authoritarian government control and an invasion of privacy. The idea of mandatory vaccine requirements is not new, especially when it comes to travel, attendance of educational institutions, and health care workers.

For example, Spinnaker outlined vaccines required by UNF here.

The federal government has refrained from mandating any federal vaccine certification or pass and has decided to leave it to private businesses and states to decide.

New York became the first state to offer digital proof of vaccination. The Excelsior Pass smartphone app allows fully vaccinated residents to show a QR code to businesses as proof of their vaccination status. You can also use the app if you have a recent negative COVID-19 test in order to enter events. However, New York says that participation in the app is optional and not required.

Sources told Spinnaker that the decision on whether students would have to show vaccine passports at the University of North Florida is  a decision above UNF administrative pay grade and will be in the hands of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis or the Florida Board of Governors. 

On April 2, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order prohibiting the use of COVID-19 vaccine passports in the state, citing privacy concerns and freedom as the primary reasons for the ban.

Other states in the U.S. have expressed fierce opposition to inoculation passports such as Iowa, Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri, and Nebraska 

Other states have spoken up about the passport system as well. 

The governor of Hawaii said on April 5 that the state is currently testing the technology needed to support a vaccine passport, but that it wouldn’t be ready for four weeks or so, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

The governor of Illinois, according to a March 24 Center Square Report, said he thinks a vaccination app would be useful but should not be mandatory to enter any event or facilities, stressing that the tech would be offered as a personal choice.

According to an April 7 local NBC affiliate WDSU report, the governor of Louisiana, in reference to vaccine passports, said it was a little early in the process to know how these kinds of vaccine verifications would actually work.

Spinnaker conducted a poll on our Instagram page asking Ospreys how they felt about vaccine passports with the option to choose: support, against, or unsure.

The poll results showed  that 152 Ospreys voted in support of vaccine passports, 69 voted they were against them, and 59 voted that they were unsure.

Spinnaker will continue to update you as this story develops.


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