It has been a year of angry protests over lockdowns, mask mandates and most recently COVID-19 vaccinations.

Reasons for resistance range from feelings of government intrusion to attacks on personal freedoms to the need to just “show out”, as my Mama would say.

Some of us have lived in fear over either contracting the virus and dying from it or infecting our loved ones unintentionally.

I say some of us because others have balked at every attempt by officials to enforce mandates that were needed to prevent the spread and save lives.

Now, a year later, we have been given a way to possibly prevent infection and return to normalcy. I am referring to the vaccines being offered by three major pharmaceutical companies.

And yet this same group wants no part of that plan either.

The latest culture war is against so-called vaccine passports.

A vaccine passport is either a digital or paper document that verifies an individual has been immunized against the new coronavirus.

These documents are being considered not only for international travel, but also conferences, concerts, sporting events, and every-day events like gyms, restaurants, work and school.

Instead of embracing the idea that people would be more likely to resume their normal activities if they felt safer among people they know are vaccinated, some states have decided to ban the concept entirely.

So far, 18 states have bans or limitations on the use of vaccine passports.

Governor DeSantis of Florida signed an executive order prohibiting the use of COVID-19 passports in his state citing privacy concerns and freedom as the main reasons.

Brian Kemp of Georgia said the decision to receive the vaccine should be “left up to each individual.”

Iowa’s governor says she believes the technology violates “personal choice.”

Tennessee’s governor said the COVID-19 vaccine should not be a “government requirement.”

Not to be left out of the controversy, lawmakers in Alabama approved a ban on vaccine passports last week. Their reasons included claims that government intrusion into personal freedoms and health choices is not acceptable.

On Monday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey made it official.

The problem with all their inciteful concern is that is total nonsense.

The government is not mandating that everyone get the COVID-19 vaccination. Nor are they advocating for the issuance of vaccine passports.

I know this will come as quite a shock to some, but everyone should see all this posturing for what it is, political pandering.

The Biden administration is on record saying they are “not now nor will they be supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential” such as a vaccine passport.

But issuing us such a document could make things easier.

We are already being required to fill out all kinds of paperwork every time we visit certain offices. Documents that are basically asking us if we have symptoms and inquiring about family members’ health and even our recent travels.

One big cruise line has already announced it will require vaccinations of all passengers and crew.

Several major baseball stadiums are requiring proof of vaccination or testing to enter their ballparks.

For those who would view the passport as an invasion of privacy, they need a wake-up call.

Most Americans already own some type of smartphone. The passport would probably just be another app. The ones on your phone already track every place you go, everything you purchase, where you eat, and we recently learned they have the capability to spy on us even when they are not in use.

Requiring proof of vaccination is nothing new.

 All 50 states require proof of immunization against certain communicable diseases. And COVID-19 is exceptionally good at spreading among us, so it certainly qualifies in that regard.

More than a dozen countries already require incoming travelers show a vaccination card for yellow fever.

I recently learned from a couple who will be traveling to Mexico next month that they will be required to provide a negative test result even if they have been vaccinated in order to re-enter this country. So, it sounds like we are already requiring proof.

Since we are already divided up to our eyeballs, I am sure those who did not want to wear a mask and do not want to get vaccinated will have no problem adjusting if they all get to sit together at events. Right?

Freedom has always come with a price. Simply presenting a vaccination card is a small price to pay to safely enjoy all the things we love to do.

Private businesses want to ensure their customers and employees it is safe to come back. It is the only way our economy will ever fully rebound and recover.

Proof of vaccination is not personal or political, it simply good for business.

Anita McGill is a former publisher of The Sentinel. She can be reached by email at anitamcgill99@gmail.com.

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