Rantz: Inslee brings vaccine passports, segregation to stadiums, colleges, churches
Washington state now has vaccine passports, thanks to Governor Jay Inslee. He won’t call them vaccine passports because it’s politically unpopular. But under his newly unveiled guidance, Washingtonians would have to quite literally show their vaccine papers to enjoy special privileges or basic rights like the public education you’ve paid for.
Under the power of the state, the Inslee administration is encouraging private organizations and religious institutions to create vaccinated-only sections in their venues. Inslee is not merely promoting vaccine segregation; he’s even forcing people to use separate entrances when entering venues.
Inslee is even allowing public and private schools to mandate its students get vaccines, even though college-aged students have less than a 0.1% risk of death from COVID.
Inslee’s vaccine passports at vaccine-only sections
Inslee announced the right for private businesses and religious institutions to create vaccinated sections as a roundabout way to incentivize vaccinations.
Under the guidance, individuals must provide a vaccine passport to the venue with the vaccine-only section. The vaccine passport may come in the form of a vaccine card, which must include your name, type of vaccine received, and the date of the last dose administered. You can also show a digital photo of the documentation.
For spectator events, outdoor facilities can create vaccinated sections until their total capacity reaches 50% maximum or 22,000 people, whichever is lower.
Inexplicably, you must still wear masks, even though you’re outdoors and surrounded by fully vaccinated people. Inslee is not following the science. He doesn’t understand it.
The indoor facilities can have vaccinated sections, and their total capacity can reach 50% maximum, or a maximum of 2,000 people, whichever is lower. You must wear your masks here, too.
Religious institutions establishing vaccinated-only sections are allowed to increase their overall facility capacity to 50% in counties that have reached Phase 2.
And some public and private schools announced they are mandating students receive the vaccines. They must provide proof of vaccination to return to campus. The University of Washington, Washington State University, Pacific Lutheran University, and Seattle University all mandate students receive a vaccine, though not all require staff do the same.
Separate entrances for the vaccinated
Strict rules govern vaccinated-only sections at events under Inslee.
You must provide your vaccine passport “upon request at any time,” according to the guidance. To be considered fully vaccinated, you will have had both shots of Pfizer or Moderna or the single Johnson and Johnson shot at least two weeks before attending the event in the vaccine-only section.
If you’re a vaccinated parent, you may bring your 7-year-old child with you to the vaccinated-only section. In fact, anyone between 2 and 15 may join, but they must “provide proof of having tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of admission.”
The sections aren’t only segregated by vaccination status. You have to enter separately, too.
“All ticket holders for a fully vaccinated-only section must enter the facility through a separate line from unvaccinated ticket-holders,” according to the guidance.
Why not force separate bathrooms and concession stands while you’re at it? The optics are offensive enough already.
These are coercive measures and abusive overreach
Inslee is doing everything short of mandating a vaccine to try to force you into getting one.
This week, during a press conference announcing a pause to his reopening plan, Inslee framed his decision to roll counties back or move them forward on the public’s willingness to get vaccinated. Though he refuses to define a specific number, Inslee suggests our freedoms will return once enough of us get vaccinated. Only then may we go mask-free; only then will he relinquish power. How authoritarian.
Want to enjoy that Sounders game? Now they can signal their virtue and open a segregated section of vaccinated heroes. You’ll have a better shot at getting a ticket and having a normal experience if you get that shot.
Want to enjoy a fuller church for worship? Get that shot and get a vaccine-only section!
Want a public education you paid for? Well, actually, you have no choice. Students are forced into a shot despite possibly already having a body full of antibodies. After all, you’re not a professor in a demographic at a high risk of complications. Only they get the option.
The sad reality
The sad reality of this situation is that I want people to get the vaccine if their doctor thinks it’s right for them.
I got the vaccine. I want you to get it, too. And for the vast majority of people, their doctor will recommend the vaccine. But it’s not right for everyone, particularly people who have already contracted COVID and have antibodies coursing through their system.
Where I push back is vaccine-by-mandate. I’m not going to pretend that this vaccine isn’t under emergency use authorization. I’m definitely not going to pretend it’s right for everyone.
And I’m certainly not going to ignore the fact that young, healthy people, who COVID barely impacts, need to rush to get this vaccine as if they’re the reason why our economy can’t reopen.
The vaccine is wholly available to anyone who wants it, and everyone here knows the risk of COVID. Inslee doesn’t get to decide for everyone how we live our lives. It’s one thing to shut down the economy or hold this kind of influence when we didn’t have a vaccine or easy access. It’s now abusive and overstepping authority when we have plenty of vaccines to go around. People get to take the risks they take. I hope they make the right decisions, but I’m not going to force anything on them.
I’m also not willing to give up my medical privacy. Neither should you. Don’t you see where this is going? Businesses will soon have the right to ask you for vaccine paperwork. Inslee is already giving some businesses and public universities the right to demand it from you. What an odd position for Democrats to take. They’re fine with you showing vaccine passports — just not voter ID or proof of citizenship.
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