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Missouri Senate passes amendment to prevent vaccine passports

The Missouri Legislature is working to ban so-called vaccine passports for travel.

An amendment attached to a transportation bill from Sen. Lincoln Hough prohibits Missouri organizations from requiring COVID-19 vaccine documentation to access transportation systems. The amendment was adopted along party lines.

“There are few more un-American ideas than denying the free movement, assembly, and speech of American citizens based on their status in one class or another (in this case, vaccinated or not vaccinated),” Sen. Bill Eigel, who offered the amendment, said on social media. “The continued politicization of the COVID environment has led to a rise in folks (mainly government) finding new ways to infringe upon your rights. The ‘vaccination passport’ is just the latest in the line of bad ideas!”

A vaccine passport is proof — either electronically or in paper format — that an individual has received a legitimate vaccination. Supporters argue such certification will help boost business and ensure people feel safer when traveling or shopping. A December 2020 TripIt survey of 3,200 people about future travel plans found 81 percent were interested in a “digital health passport if it meant they could travel freely.”

Gov. Mike Parson said the state would never mandate vaccine passports but would support the private sector, such as a business owner, who would want to implement such a policy. “If the private sector wants to do that, I’m fine with that,” Parson said last week. “But as far as the state goes, we will never mandate vaccine passports.”

Europe has proposed the “Digital Green Certificate,” a vaccine passport which would allow travel to 27 member countries of the EU. China, the UAE, and the Philippines are among other countries that have launched versions of their own, as well.

In the US, the White House is reportedly working on a vaccination passport that could require proof of immunization prior to traveling or entering crowded venues. And New York was the first state to launch one that would show a person’s proof of vaccination before entering large gatherings, like a basketball game or a wedding.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki however backtracked on earlier statements by insisting, “there will be no centralized universal federal vaccinations database and no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential.” However, the administration is working with private companies in developing these credentials.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice