Are vaccine passports discriminatory? A local attorney weighs in – About Your Online Magazine


(WXYZ) – The issue of a digital vaccine passport, or requiring proof of vaccination COVID-19, is generating a lot of debate nationally and in Michigan.

Related: Will we see passports for COVID-19 vaccines in the future? Here’s what we know in Michigan

The Biden government says it will not require a vaccination credential, nor does Governor Gretchen Whitmer announce plans to require a vaccine passport, as it is being called.

MDHHS director Elizabeth Hertel said the state had no discussions on vaccine passports.

“At the moment, we want to make sure that we are distributing vaccines to communities and to the people who want and need them,” she said.

But the same cannot be said of private companies, schools, concert halls or even places where we travel. Still, the issue of privacy and discrimination comes up with the conversation about passports.

Oakland University in Rochester announced this week that it will require proof of vaccination from students before they move in the fall, if they are living on campus.

Will we see passports for COVID-19 vaccines in the future? Here’s what we know in Michigan

Ven Johnson, a Detroit lawyer at Johnson Law, said he believes people will absolutely have to use a vaccine passport in some way and that he believes it is not discriminatory. It is a political issue, he said, but it is not discriminatory.

“I don’t think it’s really a discriminatory issue. When you talk about discrimination, you’re talking about race, color, creed, nationality. Issues that we recognize by law, under a protected class. That’s not vaccinated or vaccinated,” he said.

According to Johnson, people already need to show things similar to a vaccine passport in other areas of life, including at airports, or take children to school to vaccinate them. He also mentioned how people should provide their name and number for tracking restaurant contacts.

Johnson said he hopes to see challenges about vaccine passports in the courts.

“I don’t think they will succeed. I think showing that you are vaccinated is not discriminatory at all,” he said.

ACLU is also expressing concerns about the prospect of digital vaccine passports, due to potential discrimination and privacy. For this reason, the agency said that any proposal for a vaccine credential should be primarily paper-based and decentralized.

The ACLU says that while there are legitimate circumstances in which people may be asked to provide proof of vaccination, it is concerned with excluding people or becoming a “control society”.

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Paula Fonseca