Florida State Governor Ron DeSantis Monday announced he would fight the federal administration's plans to create a national vaccine passport.
“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 participate in normal society,” DeSantis said.
“You want the fox to guard the henhouse? I mean, give me a break... We are not going to have you provide proof of this just to be able to live your life,” explained DeSantis as he vowed to issue an executive order forbidding local governments and businesses from requiring so-called “vaccine passports” to show proof that customers have been inoculated against the coronavirus.
His announcement came on the same day the number of Floridians eligible for vaccination rose due to the minimum age requirement being lowered to 40, before it is again lowered to 18 by April 5.
The Republican governor's speech took place during a ceremony he convened at the state Capitol to sign into law a bill approved by the Legislature on Friday that would bar COVID-related lawsuits against businesses that have made good-faith efforts to comply with guidelines meant to stop the spread of the virus. DeSantis called on the Republican-led Legislature to send him a measure for his signature that would enshrine the matter into law, but he did not lay out specifics.
While the governor has previously spoken out against “vaccine passports,” he said he would take the additional step of forbidding businesses from refusing to serve people who can't prove they have been vaccinated.
Florida has rejected mask mandates and DeSantis has used his executive authority to preempt local governments from enforcing such measures, to reopen the state's economy after much of it was shuttered a year ago through measures allegedly aimed at controlling the spread of the coronavirus.
A total of 5.6 million doses of different coronavirus vaccines have been administered in Florida's Department of Health, with 2.52 million people have received the first dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna shots or the single-shot dose of Johnson & Johnson. And 3.07 million people have completed the vaccine series. As of Sunday, the state of Florida reported that 2,044,005 coronavirus cases and 33,819 deaths.