We’re well over a year into the pandemic, and it finally seems that a return to “regular” travel has never been closer. With various countries slowly peeling back their restrictions and starting to allow more foreign travel, we may just be able to jet off around the world for a holiday by the time summer comes.
Yet whilst different destinations have placed various hurdles in order to allow this to happen, such as testing, quarantine and vaccine passports, Florida has taken a stand and banned the use of vaccine passports in the state. Here’s a look at their decision, and why vaccine passports a controversial issue.
Florida Bans Vaccine Passports – Information For Travelers
Vaccine passports have long since been discussed as a solution to restarting global travel in the wake of the pandemic. Available either in digital form or as a physical document, their purpose is to provide the relevant authorities with up-to-date information about whether or not a person has been vaccinated or tested. As many countries begin to accept vaccinated travelers, they are seen as a way to speed up and smoothen the post-pandemic travel experiences.
Vaccine passports been produced by various different travel stakeholders, from governments to organizations and airlines, and the EU has recently announced its own vaccine passport will be available in time for summer. In the US, they have even begun to exist on a local level, with New York State becoming the first in the US to release their own version of a vaccine passport last week, which will allow venues to operate with increased capacities.
However, not every country – or every state – is supportive of the concept of a vaccine passport. Florida’s governor Ron DeSantis announced on Friday an executive order that banned the use of vaccine passports in the state. DeSantis made the announcement via a tweet, which read:
Today I issued an executive order prohibiting the use of so-called COVID-19 vaccine passports. The Legislature is working on making permanent these protections for Floridians and I look forward to signing them into law soon.
DeSantis’ main concern about the use of vaccine passports is that it would create a “two classes of citizens” – the vaccinated and the unvaccinated – with only one of the classes able to “take part in everyday life – such as attending a sporting event, patronizing a restaurant or going to a movie theater.”
The executive order states that no Florida government entity or official “shall be permitted to issue vaccine passports, vaccine passes, or other standardized documentation for the purpose of certifying an individual’s Covid-19 vaccination status to a third party, or otherwise publish or share and individual’s Covid-19 vaccination record or similar health information.”
Global Concerns About Vaccine Passports
Florida’s governor isn’t alone when it comes to having major concerns about the implementation of a vaccine passport. Sharing similar views with DeSantis, Dr Michael Ryan – Executive Director of Health Emergencies at WHO – also expressed ethical concerns about the use of vaccine passports for travel due to the fact that vaccines aren’t widely available in many countries in the world, which could lead to a two-tier society.
Other groups are also concerned about the safeguarding of private information once entered into the app, whilst some would prefer more testing to be done on the long-term efficacy of the vaccine before reopening travel based on who has or hasn’t been vaccinated.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com