Tuesday, 20 April 2021 20:02

Moss, House Republicans urge Cooper to reject 'vaccine passports' in N.C.

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RALEIGH — Rep. Ben Moss was one of several Republican members of the N.C. House of Representatives to sign on to a letter urging Gov. Roy Cooper not to institute so-called “vaccine passports.”

The letter, sent from the office of Majority Leader Rep. John Bell, R-Wayne, was written in regards to comments the governor made March 31 that he was in discussions about creating a system “to help people show others that they have gotten the vaccine.”

“As state legislators, we are adamantly opposed to creating a ‘vaccine passport’ or any other form of government-required indentifications to show proof of COVID-19 vaccinations,” the letter reads.

Legislators say “vaccine passports” raise “serious legal and privacy concerns and that North Carolinans should not have to carry proof of vaccination “to go about their daily lives.”

“We have heard from countless constituents who have contacted us to express their strong opposition and grave concerns regarding the idea of requiring proof of vaccinations,” the letter continues. “We urge you and your administration to reject any effort to create a government-mandated record for people to show that they have been vaccinated for COVID-19.”

The Carolina Journal reports that all but four members of the House Republican Caucus signed the letter: Ted Davis of New Hanover County, John Faircloth of Guilford County, David Rogers of Rutherford County, and Lee Zachary of Yadkin County.

A dozen House members, including Deputy Majority Whip James Boles of Moore County, currently support House Bill 557, which would prohibit mandatory vaccinations.

Media outlets report that several other states, including Florida and Arizona are considering bans on vaccine passports.

Last week, the L.A. Times reported that New York would issue a pass for vaccinated residents, citing Gov. Andrew Cuomo, to “to gain entry to major stadiums and arenas, wedding receptions, or catered and other events above the social gathering limit.”

Hawaii is also looking to implement a similar system, according to media reports.

Across the world, Israel has adopted a pass, China and Japan have plans and the U.K. is “reviewing their use,” according to CNET.com.

“Each shot of vaccine brings us closer to doing more things we like to do with the people we love and care about,” Cooper said Friday at a Dare County vaccine clinic. “It’s so important that we encourage our loved ones who haven’t got the vaccine to go get their shot.”

As of Monday, 27.6% of all North Carolina residents have been fully vaccinated, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

In Richmond County, nearly 10,000 residents (21.9%) are fully vaccinated and more than 12,000 (26.9%) have received the first dose.

Currently, only the two-dose Moderna vaccine is available locally.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week paused use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after receiving “a small number of reports of people who got this vaccine experiencing a rare and severe type of blood clot with low platelets.”