The Palm Beach Post’s editorial board on Friday slammed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis after he issued a “puzzling” executive order banning COVID-19 “vaccine passports.”
The blistering editorial comes as several governors in recent weeks have taken actions to limit vaccine passports — documents that provide proof of vaccination to give people access to events with larger crowds such as weddings and parties.
The Republican governor issued an executive order in early April preventing government entities and private businesses from requiring proof of vaccination. He has argued that doing so infringes on individual freedom.
“The governor’s argument makes no sense. The issue before us is one of public health. And there is no question that vaccinations are the most effective weapon against COVID-19 yet devised,” the board wrote. “By preventing Floridians to distinguish between who is vaccinated and who is not, DeSantis is telling us to be content with prolonging the pandemic.”
The board noted that entities such as the cruise industry, sports leagues, theme parks and conventions might challenge the order.
Conservatives have argued that vaccine passports infringe on people’s right to privacy and choice of whether to get vaccinated.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that the federal government will not “be supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential. There will be no federal vaccinations database and no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential.”
But the newspaper stated that DeSantis’s argument was “puzzling,” noting that it goes against the premise of his entire COVID-19 response to date.
“The governor’s entire COVID-19 response has been based on the idea that it’s best to trust people to do the right thing without the government telling them what to do,” the board wrote.
“Not here. Suddenly, DeSantis isn’t content to forbid government from demanding a ‘vaccine passport.’ He doesn’t want businesses to make that decision for themselves, either,” it continued.
“If DeSantis had merely forbidden Florida’s state and local governments from issuing vaccination passports, we would have understood, though perhaps not agreed,” the board wrote. “But DeSantis’ decision also forbidding private entities from requiring proof of inoculation is just bizarre, and goes way too far.”