Camera Bartolotta

Sen. Camera Bartolotta

Three state senators are planning to introduce legislation that would prohibit Pennsylvania from issuing vaccine passports.

Susquehanna Valley Sens. Kristin Phillips-Hill, R-28, and Judy Ward, R-30, along with Sen. Michele Brooks, R-50, said requiring people to show proof of being vaccinated to do certain things is “an extreme government intrusion into people’s personal lives.”

Vaccine passports, designed to verify users who have been vaccinated against COVID-19, are being discussed around the country, and locally.

Sens. Camera Bartolotta, R-Carroll Township, and Pat Stefano, R-Bullskin Township, who both oppose the idea, said constituents have increasingly been contacting their offices as the debate surrounding vaccine passports continues.

New York implemented the first-in-the-nation vaccine passport, where a mobile vaccine passport gets people into some events.

“I think it’s absurd,” said Bartolotta. “It’s an invasion of privacy and it’s government overreach.”

Bartolotta, along with Phillips-Hill, Brooks and Ward, agrees anyone who wants a vaccine should get one but said there are reasons why some people may choose not to get immunized, and the government should not ask residents to reveal personal health information.

“We are still playing catch up with many states when it comes to getting COVID-19 vaccines into arms. Whether a Pennsylvanian chooses to not receive the vaccine for personal, health or religious reasons, or simply cannot obtain a vaccine because of lack of access, there is no way any government should be asking its own citizens to reveal personal health information,” Phillips-Hill said.

Stefano worries requiring people to carry a vaccine passport to take part in everyday life – going to a concert, for example, “can create disparity and discrimination among people.”

“I’m concerned that you’ll create the haves and the have-nots,” said Stefano. “It’s another example of government control.”

Gov. Tom Wolf said in an interview last week he doesn’t oppose a vaccine passport, comparing it to the requirements Americans face when traveling abroad, and said he believed it would be easy to implement.

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