When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States last spring, no American could have imagined what the nation was in for. Now, as we emerge from quarantine and the economy begins to slowly-but-surely reemerge, many feel that staying safe is more important than ever before.
As COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues nationwide, a “vaccine passport” program is one way the federal government would like to help keep Americans safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19 as people return to some semblance of normalcy, including traveling, visiting theme parks, going to sporting events, and other activities that involve crowds of people.
U.S. News & World Report reported:
President Joe Biden in January issued an executive order directing agencies to assess the feasibility of linking coronavirus vaccinations to vaccine cards, also known as “international certificates of vaccination or prophylaxis,” and producing a digital version.
Andy Slavitt, a senior adviser to the White House coronavirus team, said on Monday that it’s not the role of the government to create such a passport or hold that kind of data on its citizens. Still, the Biden administration is involved in the efforts and will provide guidance to the private sector on the topic.
In a press conference today, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis indicated that he is firmly against President Biden’s support of a vaccine passport program. Again, this would not be an official governmental program. According to Orlando WESH 2 news:
DeSantis said he will be issuing an executive order forbidding vaccine passports in the state. The governor is also calling on the Republican-led Legislature to consider a measure addressing “vaccine passports” but did not give specifics.
“We are not supporting doing any vaccine passports in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said. “It’s completely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to impose upon you the requirement that you show proof of vaccine to just simply be able to participate in normal society.”
Florida, of course, is home to Walt Disney World Resort, a popular vacation destination for families from not only around the United States but around the world.
At this time, the Walt Disney Company has not indicated if theme park Guests will need to use a “vax pass” — the shortened name for a vaccine passport — to enter Disney World’s four theme parks or any other Disney properties worldwide. Currently, all open Disney theme park properties have a number of health and safety measures, including mandatory face masks for Guests age 2 and up, social distancing regulations, and temperature checks prior to entry.
However, Disney does not currently require any Guests (whether they are visiting Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort) to provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccine or even proof of a negative COVID-19 test result before entry.
A recent CNN report outlined how vaccine passports may eventually become commonplace — and how Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state of New York are already implementing this type of program:
On Friday [March 26, 2021], New York became the first state in the United States to roll out a vaccine verification app, often referred to as a digital vaccine passport. It’s using IBM’s Excelsior Pass app, which leans on the blockchain and displays a personalized QR code to verify health status. The state tested the app earlier this month at a Brooklyn Nets basketball game at the Barclays Center and a New York Rangers hockey game at Madison Square Garden.
Vaccine verification apps could play a key role in helping us get back to normal. But the companies behind them may first need to convince millions of Americans — scarred from years of headlines about data scandals — that these apps don’t pose significant privacy risks.
Stay tuned to Inside the Magic for additional details about Florida’s stance on vaccine passports and how it could impact your upcoming Walt Disney World Resort vacation.
What do you think about Governor DeSantis’s comments today?