Senator Howe supportive of proposed ban on vaccine passports

Legislation was introduced in the Minnesota Senate that seeks to ban controversial vaccine passports. This issue has surfaced in recent weeks due to a White House press briefing in which the Press Secretary alluded to the White House providing guidelines and standards for vaccine passports. Many companies have already begun developing digital passports that use scannable codes to show that an individual has been vaccinated with one of the COVID-19 vaccines. Talk of implementing these passports in Minnesota began in February.

“These medical decisions are made between a patient and their doctor and there’s absolutely no reason people should be forced to carry cards or phone applications confirming or denying their vaccine status,” said Senator Jeff Howe (R-Rockville). “No other disease requires you to carry identification like this, and there’s no reason we should travel down that slippery slope with COVID.” 

The proposed legislation prohibits employers or employment agencies from requiring employees to use any form of digital contact tracing, nor can a person’s choice to opt out of the contact tracing affect the terms or conditions of their employment. While individuals may voluntarily elect to use applications for contact tracing and proof of vaccination, the commissioner of health and/or local health departments are prohibited from requiring participation. Language in the bill also prohibits state agencies or local units of government from requiring individuals to submit proof of immunization. 

“These vaccine passports are just a complete violation of privacy. We’ve never required a public immunization declaration for any other vaccine, so why should we start now? It’s not the government’s business to enforce what is decided upon between a doctor and their patient, and it’s certainly not within their power to force businesses to check vaccination statuses of employees,” finished Sen. Howe.