The widely expressed concerns months ago about civil liberties and discrimination seem to be waning as President Biden ponders requiring all troops to be vaccinated and some Democratic governors announce people who get the COVID-19 shots will be given special treatment.
On Friday, Biden told NBC News’ Craig Melvin it’s a “tough call,” but he has not ruled out requiring that all military personnel receive the vaccine.
“I think you’re going to see more and more of them getting it,” Biden said. “And I think it’s going to be a tough call as to whether or not they should be required to have to get it in the military, because you’re in such close proximity with other military personnel — whether you’re in a quarters, where you’re all sleeping, or whether you’re out in maneuvers.”
The three vaccines currently in use in the United States do not have full FDA approval. They are being administered under emergency-use authorization.
Meanwhile, Washington state Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee announced new guidelines Thursday that give special treatment to fully vaccinated people related to sporting events, performing arts and cruises, reported KOMO-TV in Seattle.
At a news conference, the governor expressed alarm at the decreasing demand for the vaccines.
“It’s well known that we’ve had a slowdown in the demand for the vaccine,” Inslee said. “Now this is very concerning because now it is a terrible thing to think that we have vaccines to save people’s lives and not see it in people’s arms.”
He said vaccinated people will be granted special access.
“These new guidelines will allow cruises to take place where everybody is vaccinated on the ship except those who can’t get vaccinated for one reason or another,” Inslee said. “This is going to go into effect in mid-May. Small example of the benefits of getting vaccinated.”
Inslee was asked by a reporter if vaccinations would be used as one of the metrics to encourage counties to get people vaccinated so they can have restrictions lifted or not revert to phases with more restrictions.
“It is a possibility. We’ve given thought to this,” he said. “I do think in the next several weeks you’ll see increasing policies by the state and other entities, colleges and cruise lines and everything else that will create more incentive for folks. So, that is a possibility going forward.”
In Michigan, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Thursday she will ease coronavirus restrictions when enough residents receive the vaccine.
The governor tied personal freedom to vaccine benchmarks as she was given her second dose of the Pfizer vaccine, the Detroit Free Press reported.
“On our path to vaccinating 70% of Michiganders 16 and up, we can take steps to gradually get back to normal while keeping people safe,” Whitmer said
WXYZ-TV in Detroit reported concerns that people not showing up for their second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine.
One clinic said about 40% of their appointments are being canceled or rescheduled, and up to 20% are no-shows.
Many who have chosen not to get a COVID-19 shot have pointed out that people with certain characteristics, including pregnant women, are more vulnerable than others to the adverse affects compiled by VAERS, the U.S. government’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. They argue that each individual, in consulation with a doctor, has a right to make a personal cost-benefit analysis, particularly regarding a virus with a nearly 100% survivability rate for the average healthy person.
A new report published by Microbiology and Infectious Disease found the mRNA vaccines could trigger Alzheimer’s disease, ALS and other neurological and cognitive degenerative diseases, the Gateway Pundit reported Monday.
Last August, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top White House coronavirus adviser, said he would not support requiring the COVID-19 vaccine nationwide.
“We don’t want to be mandating from the federal government to the general population. It would be unenforceable and not appropriate,” he said.
The Biden administration has insisted it will not issue a government vaccine passport. However, it has been cooperating with corporations that have indicated they plan to require them, working on a way to standardize a vaccine ID process, the Washington Post reported in April.
The paper said the administration and private companies, “from cruise lines to sports teams,” could require the passports, which could amount to an app on a smartphone with a scannable code similar to an airline boarding pass.
Israel, China and a number of European nations have proposed vaccine passes for activities such as indoor dining at restaurants and attending sporting events.
This week, the New York Times reported the European Union will reopen its borders to American tourists this summer, but visitors will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Earlier this month, Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order prohibiting any COVID-19 vaccine passports in his state. The move came after he denounced a proposal by some companies and governments to require that people be vaccinated to patronize an establishment.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., a practicing physician, has urged Americans to throw away their masks and oppose vaccine passports.
A vaccine passport, he said in a fundraising pitch, would “determine whether or not you’re “ALLOWED” to engage in your everyday life.”
“This is the slippery slope I warned about and it’s exactly what I’m fighting to defeat in Washington,” the Kentucky Republican said.
“I urge everyone to get the vaccine if you need or want it. And then I urge everyone in America to throw away their masks, demand their schools be open, and burn your vaccine passport if they try to give it to you,” he said.
‘The end of human liberty in the West’
In an interview in March, liberal feminist author Naomi Wolf warned a vaccine passport would be “literally the end of human liberty in the West.”
In January, the Financial Times reported Microsoft is part of a coalition of technology and health organizations working on the development of a vaccine passport.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison suggested last August that the vaccine would be mandatory for residents of his country but later backtracked.
In early December, a bill was proposed in the New York State Assembly that would require COVID-19 vaccines for all residents who are able to safely receive it. The move came after the New York State Bar Association recommended the state consider making it mandatory for every resident, except for people exempted by a doctor. In Virginia in August, the health commissioner said the state would mandate the vaccine, but a spokeswoman later said there were no such plans.
The CEO of Australia’s Quantas said in December that proof of vaccination would be a requirement for all international passengers with his airline in the future and others likely would adopt the policy.
However, in a Reuters panel discussion with health experts and tourism authorities on Monday, World Travel and Trade Council CEO Gloria Guevara said she disagreed with “the approach from Qantas.”
“We should never require the vaccination to get a job or to travel,” she said. “If you require the vaccination before travel, that takes us to discrimination.”