South Carolina House lawmakers call on governor to ban coronavirus vaccine passports
Republican House lawmakers from South Carolina are calling on the state's governor
, Henry McMaster, to ban the implementation of Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine passports in the state.
The push to get McMaster to ban vaccine passports is being led by Republican Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina's first congressional district. Mace, a newly-inaugurated congresswoman, published an open letter addressed to the governor.
"Today we ask that you do everything in your power under the law to prohibit 'vaccine passports' from being required to enter, enjoy and move about our beautiful state," wrote Mace in the open letter
, which was signed by four of the five other Republican congressmen from South Carolina. Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn, the third most powerful Democrat in the House, and Republican Rep. Tom Rice did not sign it.
Mace and the other representatives argued that a vaccine passport system would be a violation of personal privacy and the civil liberties of South Carolinians. Among the laws a vaccine passport could potentially infringe upon are the 1996 federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
Additionally, the congressmen pointed out that creating a vaccine passport system would further polarize issues regarding the coronavirus vaccine, and might drive up vaccine skepticism. (Related: LA Times columnist admits vaccine passports will 'single out' vaccine skeptics, 'break the resistance down.'
The letter also warned McMaster that a vaccine passport system would be detrimental to South Carolina's economy:
"As we see it, 'vaccine passports' are a terrible approach to managing this pandemic or the economy, and instead will violate the rights of our citizens. We urge you to fight against this with every tool of state government, including preventing state agencies from cooperating or coordinating with the federal government on the use of potential 'vaccine passports.'"
Mace and the other representatives are asking McMaster to work with South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, another Republican, to prevent vaccine passports from being implemented in the state.
As of press time, McMaster has yet to respond to the open letter of South Carolina's congressmen. News outlets have attempted to contact the governor's office for a comment, and the office's representatives have pointed to McMaster's recent tweet
that was published a day before the letter was sent.
"President Biden and the Democrats want to force Americans to present a 'vaccine passport' upon demand, yet they oppose presenting an ID to cast a vote," wrote McMaster. "Vaccine passports will have no place in South Carolina. The very idea is un-American to its core."
Fauci denies that Biden will mandate vaccine passport
Chief Medical Adviser to President Joe Biden Anthony Fauci said on Monday, April 5, that the federal government will most likely not mandate vaccine passports
Fauci said this during an appearance on a podcast by the mainstream news outlet Politico
. Fauci passed the responsibility of mandating vaccine passports to "certain businesses and educational institutions," who he believed, would most likely require them for their employees and students.
"I doubt that the federal government will be the main mover of a vaccine passport concept," said Fauci. "They may be involved in making sure things are done fairly and equitably, but I doubt if the federal government is gonna be the leading element of that."
Fauci attempted to avoid taking a stand as to whether vaccine passports are ethical or not. "But I'm saying you could foresee how an independent entity might say, 'Well, we can't be dealing with you unless we know you're vaccinated,'" said Fauci.
Other members of the Biden administration have made similar statements denying that a federal vaccine passport mandate is on the way. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that there will be "no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential."
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed an executive order preventing corporations and government institutions from using a vaccine passport system in Florida. He has also called on state lawmakers to pass a similar measure to make sure vaccine passports never pop up in the state.
By contrast, New York has launched a vaccine passport system known as the "Excelsior Pass," which uses a QR code on a smartphone app to verify a person's proof of vaccination. State officials in Hawaii are also considering requiring proof of vaccination for inter-island travel.
Learn more about the ongoing attempts to institute vaccine passports by reading the latest articles at Pandemic.news