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Florida Legislators Lead Federal Push To Ban Vaccine Passports at Airports

This July 2020 photo shows a potential COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moderna and the National Institutes of Health.
Hans Pennink
/
Associated Press

Sen. Rick Scott, R-FL, and Rep. John Rutherford, R-FL4, are leading an effort to ban so-called vaccine passports at airports. 

Their legislation, dubbed the Freedom to Fly Act, would bar the Transportation Security Administration from asking passengers for their coronavirus vaccine status on domestic flights. 

“The TSA has no right to compel American travelers to disclose sensitive health information,” Rutherford said in a news release. “This includes vaccination records, or so-called ‘vaccine passports.’ Our freedoms as Americans must not be sacrificed under the guise of public safety.”

The TSA currently doesn't require proof that passengers have been vaccinated. 

Scott said, “While I continue to encourage everyone who wants one to get the vaccine, the federal government has no business requiring travelers to turn over their personal medical information to catch a flight. My Freedom to Fly Act ensures families in Florida and across the country can travel freely and without the ridiculous government bureaucracy created by vaccine passports.”

There is currently no federally recognized COVID-19 vaccine passport — a piece of paper or smartphone app proving that one has been vaccinated — and the White House has said it has no plans to develop one. And several Republican-controlled legislatures, including Florida’s, have banned vaccine passports across all industries. 

Contact Sydney Boles at sboles@wjct.org, or on Twitter at @sydneyboles.