Ethan C. Brown, Correspondent
Florida Gov. Ron Desantis’ executive order to ban vaccine passports will move forward. The Florida Department of Health will begin enforcing the order on September 16.
Gov. Desantis’ decision is not fresh news, though. He issued executive order 21-81 earlier this year on April 2. The order bans any government agency from issuing vaccine passports and does not allow businesses to require vaccine documentation. As COVID-19 cases skyrocket in Florida, the governor’s decision has turned many heads.
Florida might have been one of the first but surely is not the only state to enforce a ban on vaccine passports. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed legislation in May banning vaccine requirements throughout the state. On April 19, the governor of Arizona did the same.
Iowa, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Tennessee, and Texas have also banned vaccine passports. Many of the states claim requiring vaccinations would compromise their residents’ freedom.
Though many states are against the passports, a handful of states are still fighting to get life back to normal. New York, California, and Hawaii are all mandating vaccinations. California has given residents an option to provide proof of vaccination or get tested at least once a week.
To ease the stress of proving vaccination, all three states and Louisiana are implementing some form of digital vaccination records. It is not required to have these digital records; they are simply tools residents can use to easily present their proof of vaccination when asked.
How do vaccine mandates work? What does this mean for residents?
Vaccine mandates are not a new concept. In all 50 states children are required to have specific vaccinations before starting school. Certain vaccinations are also required if you want to travel internationally or immigrate to a new country. Most of us already have a vaccine passport somewhere.
Though the COVID-19 vaccine is mandated in these states, government officials cannot physically make you get the vaccine. The mandate simply means if you refuse to get vaccinated, schools, restaurants, and other businesses can legally deny you access to their buildings and services.
COVID-19 and vaccination are common topics of debate since the pandemic started. Conspiracy theories regarding the pandemic have circled over the last year. Sadly, many Americans believe COVID-19 is fake, the death toll has been fabricated, and vaccines are used to microchip citizens.
These theories most likely have led us to passport bans, and because of this, the pandemic and debates will not be going away anytime soon. We have all been impacted by COVID-19 in one way or another. Over 653,000 Americans have lost their lives during this pandemic, most before the vaccine was available.
With a nation divided, many of us wonder what we will see next. We can only hope it is the light at the end of this pandemic tunnel.