Louisiana leaders discuss the idea of a COVID-19 vaccine passport

La. leaders give their take on possible vaccine passports

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Louisiana leaders are weighing in on the possibility of businesses or airlines requiring people to carry around a vaccine passport.

A vaccine passport is a record of someone’s COVID-19 related health data. It can be digital, like a phone app, to show if someone has been vaccinated or recently tested negative for the virus.

Dr. Fauci announced Monday, April 5, that the federal government will not make it a requirement.

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This comes after the state of New York rolled out the nation’s first vaccine passport program. On Friday, April 2, the state of Florida actually decided to ban them over freedom and privacy concerns.

According to Dr. Joseph Kanter, Gov. John Bel Edwards’ office has discussed it, but he said it’s too early to make a decision.

Alanah Odoms Hebert from the Louisiana ACLU cited several concerns if this goes forward.

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“The idea of a vaccine passport is something that we generally support, but there are key issues we want the public to be aware of and the government,” said Hebert.

Hebert said making a digital-only system would only do harm. She said you have to take into account people who don’t have access to technology and elderly people who might not know how to use it.

“So, if the passport is something that can only be accessed digitally, that is a problem because it poses a concern to communities that do not have smartphone and accessibility issues. So, paper access is critical if we’re going to be thinking about a vaccine passport,” said Hebert.

Hebert also mentioned privacy as a big issue. She said any system that can track someone or have access to their information is a bad idea.

“We want to make sure it’s an open source. Which means we do not want private companies and the government to be able to access the information if the individual themselves don’t have control over it,” said Hebert.

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