Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf raised eyebrows this week when indicating he’d support some form of vaccine passports, when asked by reporters about the controversial idea.
At first, Wolf was non committal to the idea but as he continued to think out loud, he changed his tune and said he’d be in favor of the passports.
From the Morning Call:
“I don’t really have a position on passports,” he said. “You know, you used to have to have one when you traveled overseas. It was part of your passport. It was a yellow card that showed what immunizations you’d had. So I’m not sure. I would think that that would be a fairly easy thing to do.”
When a reporter asked a follow-up question, Wolf said, “Yeah, if that were something that seemed to come from the General Assembly, yeah, I would support that.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose disastrous response to the Coronavirus pandemic, including a controversial nursing home order that led to the deaths of thousands of senior citizens, has been widely criticized, is the only other governor so far to launch a ‘voluntary’ vaccine passport.
With fears of defacto mandatory passports rising, some governors have sought to ease concerns by taking pre-emptive measures against such a concept.
Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida, for example, issued a forceful rebuke of making a return to normal life dependent on some form of vaccine proof being necessary to go anywhere.
“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,” he said on Monday.
Back in Pennsylvania, Democratic lawmakers are brushing off concerns as a non-issue. Via the Morning Call:
Democratic state Rep. Peter Schweyer of Allentown called the issue a “ginned-up” controversy triggered by national Republicans. Schweyer, who said he had no position on the concept, said he has heard no mention of the issue at legislative meetings and hasn’t seen any bills introduced.
“I don’t know if it’s a real issue or not,” Schweyer said. “It seems like a talking point that Republicans across the nation are latching onto.”
First-term Republican state Rep. Tracy Pennycuick of Montgomery County said it was “completely inappropriate” to even consider the passport idea.
It would, she said, lead to discrimination against those who could not or would not get shots.
With New York already implementing a form of vaccine passports and President Biden signaling the federal government was working with the private sector to move in that direction also, it’s an issue many Americans remain leery over.