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Newsom Says Upcoming Vaccine Verification System Is Somehow ‘Not’ A Vaccine ‘Passport’

"It’s not a passport..."
Gov. Newsom Holds News Conference On California Assault Weapons Ban Case SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 10: California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference at San Francisco General Hospital on June 10, 2021 in San Francisco, California. California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Rob Bonta announced that the state of California has filed an appeal to a recent decision by a U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez of San Diego to overturn California's three-decade-old ban on assault weapons stating that California's ban on assault weapons violates the constitutional right to bear arms. In his ruling, Benitez compared the popular AR-15 assault rifle to a Swiss Army knife. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Justin Sullivan / Staff via Getty Images
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Democratic California Governor Gavin Newsom discussed the rollout of an upcoming “vaccine verification” system as the state moves to change its COVID-19 restrictions guidance this week.

The updated guidance is set to take effect on June 15 and will make life essentially return to normal in most situations for vaccinated people, according to ABC-7.

“Fully vaccinated people will be allowed to do pretty much everything they were doing before the pandemic without needing to wear a mask. That includes grocery shopping, going to the gym, drinking at a bar, seeing a movie or going to church,” per the outlet. 

People who are vaccinated will still be required to wear masks in hospitals, prisons, homeless shelters, while traveling and if they are indoors at K-12 schools, the outlet noted.

In the new order released with the updates, California Public Health Officer Tomás J. Aragón, M.D., Dr.P.H. said that though Californians “have made significant progress in vaccinating individuals and reducing community transmission thanks to the steps taken by Californians,” COVID-19 is still a public health concern.

“We must remain vigilant against variants of the disease especially given high levels of transmission in other parts of the world and due to the possibility of vaccine escape,” Aragón noted.

As far as what might change for businesses and vendors, the updated guidance explained that in areas where unvaccinated people are the only ones required to wear masks, “businesses, venue operators or hosts may choose to” give “information to all patrons, guests and attendees regarding vaccination requirements and allow vaccinated individuals to self-attest that they are in compliance prior to entry.” They may also “Implement vaccine verification to determine whether individuals are required to wear a mask” and “Require all patrons to wear masks.”

Last week, Newsom said that the state is close to putting out an electronic system that will let businesses verify that patrons have been vaccinated against COVID-19, as reported by The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Newsom said Friday that the “vaccine verification” wording in the guidance is in fact referencing an attempt to assist businesses in electronically verifying if someone is vaccinated, per the outlet. 

“We would look to help support those efforts and modernize the opportunities, and we’ll be making some announcements very shortly in that space,” Newsom said.

“There is no mandate, no requirement, no passport,” Newsom said, adding that the guidelines permit companies to incorporate the system or decline to use it without being punished.

On Monday, Newsom said more about the “system,” suggesting that it will simply be vaccine cards in an electronic format.

“It’s not a passport, it’s not a requirement, it’s just the ability now to have an electronic version of that paper version, so you’ll hear more about that in the next couple of days,” he reiterated. 

Vaccine passports have been a controversial program and multiple states have taken to banning them altogether.

As reported by The Daily Wire last month, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Braun (R-IN), and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) introduced a bill to ban the federal government from creating vaccine passports. The bill “also prohibits the federal government from being able to work with third parties to establish immunization passports.”

Cruz said that  “Americans shouldn’t be discriminated against because of” their immunization status, “whether that is at work or in everyday life.” 

“Americans have a well-established right to privacy that any mandated” immunization passport “would destroy,” Cruz said, adding that it “would be discriminatory against people who, for whatever reason, do not get” it.

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