Republicans are trying to scare people about 'vaccine passports' that don't exist

A growing number of Republican members of Congress are fearmongering about the COVID-19 vaccine, falsely saying that President Joe Biden is going to require Americans to carry a "passport" that shows proof of vaccination.

The GOP disinformation campaign about so-called "vaccine passports" comes after the European Union launched a debate about requiring proof of vaccination in order for the countries on the continent to reopen their borders to travelers.

President Joe Biden's administration has said it is not considering a proof-of-vaccination system.

"Unlike other parts of the world, the government here is not viewing its role as the place to create a passport, nor a place to hold the data of citizens," Andy Slavitt, a senior advisor to the COVID-19 response coordinator, said Monday at a news conference at the White House. "We view this as something that the private sector is doing and will do."

Yet that hasn't stopped GOP lawmakers from accusing Biden of wanting to create the "vaccine passports."

"They are actually talking about people's ability to buy and sell linked to the vaccine passport," Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) tweeted on Monday. "They might as well call it Biden's Mark of the Beast."

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) made a similarly false accusation.

"The Biden Administration: Considering a 'vaccination passport' for Americans. But doesn't seem to care about passports when it comes to illegal migrants crossing the southern border," Jordan tweeted on Monday. 

Despite the Biden administration dispelling this lie, Republicans continued the false accusations into Tuesday.

"Why is it that Americans need a 'vaccine passport' to travel freely in our own country, but unvaccinated illegal immigrants can cross our border by the thousands?" Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) tweeted on Tuesday — again spreading a lie as the Biden administration says it is not going to mandate vaccine passports.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Tuesday tweeted, "If you think voter ID is racist, but a vaccine passport is just fine, you need some serious help thinking through public policy."

While the Biden administration says it is not considering vaccine passports, many parts of public society are requiring proof of vaccines.

For example, some public and private elementary, intermediate, and high schools; colleges and universities; daycares; and summer camps are requiring proof of vaccination in order to attend.

What's more, the GOP outrage comes as a new monthly Kaiser Family Foundation poll shows fewer and fewer Americans are hesitant to get the vaccine — and that those who are hesitant say that making the vaccine a requirement for travel is a strong incentive to get the shot.

"About four in ten in both the 'wait and see' and 'only if required' groups say they would be more likely to get a shot if airlines required it of passengers or if the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] said that vaccinated people could travel freely and would not have to wear masks in most situations," KFF wrote in a summary of their poll results.

The poll also showed that 62% of adults in the United States say they either got their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or plan to get the vaccine as soon as possible. That's up from 55% just one month ago. And the number of people who are taking a "wait-and-see" approach is now 17% — down from 22% in February.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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