Florida House passes bill to ban vaccine passports

A health care worker administers a Pfizer vaccine to people at Miami Dade College’s North Campus in Miami, Florida, March 10, 2021.

The vaccine against the Chinese communist virus (Wuhan pneumonia and COVID-19) has been in effect since the start of the vaccine, and several countries are hoping to introduce “vaccine passports” as a passport for future travelers, but this travel policy has been kicked in the teeth in Florida.

The Florida House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday (April 28) that would incorporate into state law Governor Ron DeSantis’ executive order banning “vaccine passports,” which prohibit the use of an application or physical document indicating whether a person has been vaccinated.

Lawmakers voted 76-40 to approve the emergency bill (SB2006), which includes provisions to ban vaccine passports, authorize emergency funding and limit local emergency orders while minimizing the negative effects of long-term emergencies, such as the closure of schools and businesses.

According to the text of the bill, agencies are prohibited from issuing vaccine passports; commercial entities or businesses are prohibited from requiring people to show documentation that they have been vaccinated, or have recovered, in order to enter a company to work or obtain services; and each violation is punishable by a $5,000 fine.

Republican Rep. Tom Leek, who sponsored the bill, said the ban strikes “a delicate balance between protecting people and protecting civil liberties. He said, “We have to be aware of the reality that (people) are hesitant to get vaccinated, and …… (implementing a vaccine passport ban) is fair to a certain segment of our community, people who are hesitant to get vaccinated.”

The bill will be sent to the state Senate for a vote and, if passed, will be sent to DeSantis’ desk for signature at a later date.

Governor DeSantis, who has been a leading critic of vaccine passports, signed an executive order on April 2 banning the use of vaccine passports in Florida, citing respect for individual liberty.

“An individual’s vaccination record is private health information and should not be shared through an injunction,” DeSantis wrote in the order. “This so-called COVID-19 (Chinese Communist Virus) vaccine passport would diminish individual liberty and would compromise patient privacy.” He also noted that implementing a vaccine passport would allow Florida to “create two classes of citizens based on vaccination.”

In the U.S. Congress, Rep. Andy Biggs (D-Mich.) introduced the No Vaccine Passports Act this month, which would prohibit federal agencies from issuing passports, passes or other standard documents that could be used to certify vaccination status to third parties, such as airlines or restaurants. The No Vaccine Passports Act prohibits federal agencies from issuing passports, passes or other standard documents that can be used to certify vaccination status to third parties (e.g., airlines or restaurants) or otherwise release or share vaccination records or similar health information of U.S. citizens.

The bill also prohibits the use of proof of vaccination as a condition of access to federal or congressional property or services.

In response, the White House said the Biden administration opposes imposing a federal vaccine passport, but will develop guidelines for private companies to use such systems.