Protesters gathered in Orange County on Tuesday to oppose there being digital COVID-19 vaccine records that officials have insisted are not required and are only meant to be a convenience for residents who want them.
The unmasked crowd came together outside an O.C. Board of Supervisors building in Santa Ana. They carried signs reading “digital passports are anti-freedom” and “unmask the kids” as they stood near writing on the ground that read, “No digital slavery. No vax passport!”
The protesters opposed any version of a vaccine record system, especially one that is digital, claiming that having them would eventually become mandated and prevent people from going to businesses. They are now calling on county officials to pass a resolution to ban local businesses from asking customers to show proof of vaccination.
But local officials have repeatedly said that they are not requiring anyone to show proof of vaccination, nor do they have future plans to do so.
The county’s plan was to provide those vaccinated at county-operated sites the choice to get a QR code that they could show if requested, and this was part of a contract county officials already signed. But after protest from anti-vaccine activists, the option won’t be available until supervisors OK it, the O.C. Register reported.
During Tuesday’s O.C. Board of Supervisors, hundreds of people joined to offer public comment.
Chairman Andrew Do proposed pausing the plan for digital vaccine records, saying “the noise around this whole vaccine passport has reached the point where it’s becoming counter-productive,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
O.C. Supervisor Katrina Foley opposed Do’s proposal, saying the digital records would help businesses operate at maximum capacity.
“This was a convenient, opt-in, voluntary opportunity for individuals to be able to benefit their businesses as well as be able to go about living their lives,” she said, according to the Times. “We are appeasing a very small faction of our community who actually are not going to get vaccinated. They’ve already told us they don’t believe in vaccines.”
California gives venues that require proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test the option to bring in more guests when they verify the safeguards, which can be done by asking for the CDC vaccine card people get after getting the jab, and not necessarily a digital record with a scannable code.
Dodger Stadium has offered tickets for “fully vaccinated fan sections,” where fans are not required to social distance. But there aren’t many other examples of venues asking for proof of vaccination.
People vaccinated at Los Angeles County sites are getting digital records of their COVID-19 shots to download to their iPhones from Healthvana. The company says they’re meant to give people access to their own health records, especially if they lose their CDC card, and aren’t meant to be “vaccine passports.” The codes on them go to a static informational page on the company’s website, not to a different unique page with personal information on the holder.