News: Quick Takes

Most House Republicans urge Cooper to reject government ‘vaccine passport’

Gov. Roy Cooper at a Jan. 6, 2021, COVID-19 briefing. (Pool photo)
Gov. Roy Cooper at a Jan. 6, 2021, COVID-19 briefing. (Pool photo)

Sixty-five Republican members of the N.C. House of Representatives are urging Gov. Roy Cooper to avoid creating a government “vaccine passport” linked to COVID-19. All but four members of the House Republican Caucus signed on to a letter sent to Cooper Tuesday, April 20.

The letter asks the governor to reject a passport “or any other form of government-required identifications to show proof of COVID-19 vaccinations,” according to a news release.

“These ‘vaccine passports’ raise serious privacy and legal concerns,” according to the House GOP letter. “North Carolinians should not be required to carry some sort of proof of vaccination to go about their daily lives.”

The letter’s opening paragraph signals that it’s responding to March 31 comments from Cooper. At the time, the governor said 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 identifications to show proof of COVID-19 vaccinations,” the letter continues.

Lawmakers cite their constituents’ concerns. “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 65 Republicans represent a majority within the 120-member state House. The only House Republicans not to sign the letter were Reps. Ted Davis of New Hanover County, John Faircloth of Guilford County, David Rogers of Rutherford County, and Lee Zachary of Yadkin County.

The letter arrives one week after House Bill 558, a measure that would ban mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations. Twelve House Republicans have signed on to supporting that bill.