House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on Wednesday joined the growing chorus of Republican lawmakers opposed to a government-mandated “vaccine passport” to verify inoculation against the coronavirus.
“Thanks to the safe vaccines from Operation Warp Speed, we will defeat the virus. But forcing Americans to carry a ‘vaccine passport’ to go about daily life is unacceptable in a free society,” McCarthy wrote on social media. “That’s something you’d expect in Communist China. Not in the United States of America.”
Thanks to the safe vaccines from Operation Warp Speed, we will defeat the virus. But forcing Americans to carry a "vaccine passport" to go about daily life is unacceptable in a free society.
That's something you'd expect in Communist China. Not in the United States of America.
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) April 7, 2021
McCarthy’s comments come after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued executive orders outlawing a state-directed vaccine passport in their states, citing mounting concerns about eroding civil liberties.
On Tuesday, Abbott issued an executive order which not only bars vaccine passports but also prohibits state agencies from receiving public funds for creating such documentation.
“Texans are returning to normal life as more people get the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. But as I’ve said all along, these vaccines are always voluntary and never forced,” Abbott said in a video statement. “Government should not require any Texan to show proof of vaccination and reveal health information just to go about their daily lives. That is why I have issued an executive order that prohibits government-mandated vaccine passports in Texas. We will continue to vaccinate more Texans and protect public health — and we will do so without treading on Texans’ personal freedoms.”
On Friday, DeSantis issued an executive order effectively banning the use of vaccine passports in Florida. The directive also blocks businesses from requiring customers to show proof of vaccination.
“There was never under discussion any mandates to take vaccines. We will not have COVID vaccines mandated in Florida,” DeSantis said last Monday. “The flip side of that though with these vaccine passports is 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.”
Other Republican governors such as Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) have also come out against vaccine passports, though it is unclear if he will join DeSantis and Abbott by issuing his own directive.
“I do not and will not support any kind of state-mandated vaccine passport. While the development of multiple safe, highly effective COVID-19 vaccines has been a scientific miracle, the decision to receive the vaccine should be left up to each individual,” Kemp wrote on Twitter Tuesday.
Later Tuesday, the Biden administration ruled out imposing a federal vaccine passport but said businesses were free to consider the move.
“The government is not now, nor will 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,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.