- The Washington Times - Friday, April 9, 2021

Republicans against so-called vaccine passports have proposed a bill to ban the federal government from issuing documentation that could be used to prove a person has been inoculated against COVID-19.

“My private healthcare decisions – and yours – are nobody else’s business,” Rep. Andy Biggs, Arizona Republican, said in a statement Thursday announcing his newly introduced No Vaccine Passport Act.

The bill was proposed in the House of Representatives with support from 18 co-sponsors, all Republicans, as more Americans become vaccinated against COVID-19, the disease the novel coronavirus causes.

If passed as written, the bill would prevent the federal government from issuing paperwork that private businesses could then check to confirm whether or not a potential customer has been vaccinated.

Additionally, the bill would effectively ban members of Congress, such as its sponsors, from having to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to access the U.S. Capitol and adjacent office buildings.

“An agency may not issue a vaccine passport, vaccine pass or other standardized documentation for the purpose of certifying the COVID-19 vaccination status of a citizen of the United States to a third party, or otherwise publish or share any COVID-19 vaccination record of a citizen of the United States or similar health information,” reads one of the provisions of the proposed bill.

“Proof of COVID-19 vaccination shall not be deemed a requirement for access to Federal property or Federal services, or for access to congressional grounds or services,” reads the bill’s other part.

Talks of airlines, restaurants and other businesses potentially requiring that customers prove they are vaccinated against COVID-19 have emerged as a possible solution to them safely fully re-opening.

Mr. Biggs, the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, argued that requiring people to prove their vaccination status will do nothing to reel from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, however.

“Vaccine passports will not help our nation recover from COVID-19; instead, they will simply impose more Big Brother surveillance on our society,” Mr. Biggs, 62, asserted in the statement.

Mr. Biggs also stated he is “profoundly disturbed that the Biden Administration would even consider imposing vaccine passports” on Americans. However, the White House said it does not support them.

“The government is not now, nor will we be supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters during a briefing earlier this week.

“There will be no federal vaccinations database and no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential,” Ms. Psaki stressed during the White House press briefing Tuesday.

Under four months since the first coronavirus vaccine was reported to have been given in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says over 175 million doses have been administered.

Roughly one-fifth of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the CDC. 

The co-sponsors of the bill include Reps. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, Greg Steube of Florida, Warren Davidson of Ohio, Ben Cline of Virginia, Yvette Herrell of New Mexico, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Russ Fulcher of Idaho, Chip Roy of Texas, Mary Miller of Illinois, Bill Posey of Florida, Ralph Norman of South Carolina, Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Ted Budd of North Carolina, Randy Weber of Texas, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, and Jody Hice of Georgia.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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