SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The idea of showing proof of your COVID-19 vaccine to travel or enter certain businesses is gaining traction across the county. It’s being deemed as a “COVID Vaccine Passport”, and it’s creating mixed opinions.
“If they think this will help us get done sooner, by all means,” said Sacramento resident Michael Hamming.
“It should be the people’s choice. They should be the decider, not the government,” said Aaron Thomson, of Sacramento.
Republican Congressman Doug LaMalfa is hoping things like travel, shopping and even going to work will never be dependent on if you get a COVID vaccine.
“It really comes down to privacy, individual liberty,” he explained.
LaMalfa introduced one of two bills Thursday that would ban a required passport possibility.
“Don’t have a heavy hand of government telling you what you have to have or forcing you to have the injection. That is not the American way and I really think it takes people’s choices away,” he said. “It puts certain people on the outs that can’t take it for maybe a religious issue or an issue of allergy.”
Under the bill, those who travel by plane or train could not be denied based on their vaccination status. It would also prohibit funding for a database requiring proof of the shot.
“Getting an injection is a very personal and invasive thing, so people should not be forced to say yes or no you may not travel,” said LaMalfa.
In a briefing this week, the White House COVID Response Team said they would leave the decision of vaccine passports up to the private sector.
“But unlike other parts of the world, the government here is not viewing its role as the place to create a passport, nor a place to hold the data of citizens. We view this as something that the private sector is doing and will do,” said Andy Slavitt, Senior Advisor of the While House COVID-19 Response Team.
USC Professor of Preventive Medicine, Dr. Jeffery Klausner, said while people might be opposed, vaccine mandates are nothing new.
“The idea of vaccine passports is not new. You need vaccinations to go to school, to go to college, to travel certain places,” he said.
Klausner believes a temporary vaccine requirement could help the nation reestablish a sense of normalcy.
“When vaccinated people get together there is extremely low risk,” he explained. “If everyone is vaccinated, they can feel protected and that may be a big incentive for people to go back to events, go back to cruises, to travel,” Klausner explained.
LaMalfa’s second bill that is still in the works would target potential business restrictions. It would prohibit businesses to deny services based on the vaccine or require their employees to get a COVID-19 shot. The bill would also prohibit state and local governments from prohibiting access based on receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.