Vaccine passport? Some lawmakers say no way

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Some conservative Ohio lawmakers oppose the idea that citizens should have to prove they’ve been immunized.

State Rep. Al Cutrona, R-Canfield, said he’ll introduce legislation to prohibit so-called “vaccine passports” in Ohio.

“Ohioans are encouraged to take the COVID-19 vaccine for the health and well-being of themselves and others,” said Cutrona in a written statement. “However, a vaccine should not be mandated or required by our government for our people to integrate back to a sense of normalcy. We’ve had restrictions on our freedoms for over a year and more restrictions or mandates are not the answer to every issue related to COVID-19.”

Ohio does not mandate COVID-19 vaccinations or proof of such vaccinations as a condition for working, shopping or participating in other activities. State law provides a mechanism for parents to opt out of vaccinating their children against a variety of infectious diseases for reasons of conscience.

Republican Josh Mandel, who is running in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate, said in a tweet this week: “We don’t want vaccine passports. We want Voter ID.”

Ohio has required voter identification — either photo ID, bank or utility statements or other paperwork — since 2005.

The idea of vaccine passports would allow for people to get on an airplane or cruise ship, attend a concert or sporting event or return to work. The Biden administration has indicated the federal government will not create a vaccine passport program.

Private businesses may want the option of requiring proof of vaccination from customers or employees.

Julie Wagner Feasel of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce said this type of issue is under discussion with members.

Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce President Chris Kershner said employer vaccine requirements are an individual business decision.

“This isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, each business should have the freedom to independently run their operations and make their own decisions,” he said. “Once this bill is introduced, the Dayton Area Chamber will review this legislation and it’s impact on our business community.”

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