A report that the Biden administration is discussing the possibility of vaccine passports for interstate travel drew outrage on Friday across social media.
The Associated Press, noting President Biden has become more “aggressive” in his push for COVID-19 mandates, reported “more severe measures — such as mandating vaccines for interstate travel or changing how the federal government reimburses treatment for those who are unvaccinated and become ill with COVID-19 — have been discussed” by the White House.
But the administration is “worried that they would be too polarizing at this time.”
An administration official told the AP “the interstate travel vaccination requirement was not under consideration at the moment.”
The wire service added: “That’s not to say they won’t be implemented in the future, as public opinion continues to shift toward requiring vaccinations as a means to restore normalcy.”
Tim Pool, the “disaffected liberal” known for his Timcast podcast,” confirmed the administration’s fear of “polarizing,” tweeting that such a move would “fracture the country almost immediately.”
“Hillbilly Elegy” author JD Vance, a candidate for the U.S. Senate in Ohio, called it “immoral and unconstitutional.”
This would fracture the country almost immediately https://t.co/d51cpG94SC
— Tim Pool (@Timcast) August 13, 2021
This line in an @AP White House story is getting a lot of attention this morning. A White House official says mandating vaccines for interstate travel "is not under consideration at this moment." https://t.co/wCSkPl7sny
— davidshepardson (@davidshepardson) August 13, 2021
Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton pointed out the double standard, with Biden discussing limits on interstate travel while opening the country’s borders for illegal immigrants.
Limits on interstate travel for Americans.
Open borders for illegal immigrants. pic.twitter.com/IRWY5eBwJ1
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) August 13, 2021
Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott called it a “dangerous double standard.”
“While Biden is considering mandating vaccines for interstate travel, he is allowing a record number of illegal migrants to cross our southern border—many of whom test positive for COVID,” he wrote. “This double standard is dangerous & must be stopped.”
National Review editor Jonah Goldberg said: “I’m pro-vaccine. I’m in favor of lots of extraordinary measures to get people vaccinated. But requiring proof of vaccination for interstate travel strikes me as one of the dumbest, most unworkable, and counter-productive ideas out there. I hope it stays on the drawing board.”
Conservative podcaster Liz Wheeler wrote: “Mandating the covid vaxx for interstate travel has ‘been discussed’?! Hell no. This is a called a test balloon, to prepare people for when the Biden admin drops this dictate. This is OUTRAGEOUS.”
Mandating the covid vaxx for interstate travel has “been discussed”?! Hell no. This is a called a test balloon, to prepare people for when the Biden admin drops this dictate. This is OUTRAGEOUS. pic.twitter.com/q9u0ifwbLi
— Liz Wheeler (@Liz_Wheeler) August 13, 2021
Talk-radio host Buck Sexton, a former CIA counterterrorism officer, wrote on Twitter: “Never forget that the people who are now cheering the White House’s consideration of vaccine passports for all interstate travel were enthusiastically demanding the police arrest a lone paddle boarder 100 yards out on the ocean to ‘protect us from COVID.’
Stopping me from traveling state to state without my papers is not something I’m going to allow. I suspect there are many like me. https://t.co/HXkyoCWBcv
— Jesse Kelly (@JesseKellyDC) August 13, 2021
Meanwhile, Australia is already further down the road in considering vaccine passports for interstate travel.
On Friday, however, the Guardian reported, Prime Minister Scott Morrison “suggested vaccine passports may not be necessary for interstate travel because there would be no need for border restrictions when Australia has achieved its targets of 70% or 80% vaccination.”