Keller @ Large: COVID Vaccination Proof Needed?

The idea of a "vaccine passport" has turned into a political controversy. WBZ-TV's Jon Keller reports.

Video Transcript

- Passports are a measure of safety, but they are clearly also controversial. And some states say there's no way they'll require them. Proof of vaccination is proposed as a way to know who's protected against the virus and who isn't. And some state schools and businesses like the idea.

DAVID WADE: But the idea has since turned into a political controversy. WBZ's Jon Keller takes a look at why.

JON KELLER: A far-reaching proof of vaccination requirement? It's an idea the White House wants no part of.

JEN PSAKI: The government is not now nor will we be supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential.

JON KELLER: And while some universities and airlines are already requiring such proof, there's a fast-growing political divide over how far to go with it.

BILL DE BLASIO: But I think particularly for some private sector settings, it could be a really valuable tool.

GREG ABBOTT: Government should not require any Texan to show proof of vaccination and reveal private health information just to go about their daily lives.

JON KELLER: The division extends to the general public, with the latest polls showing 50% support for employers requiring proof of vaccination from employees returning to the workplace but only 40% approving of patrons being asked to show proof before entering a business and just 36% supporting a ban on unvaccinated customers.

- I have absolutely no members coming to me and saying, we need a vaccine passport.

JON KELLER: And this private sector voice says keeping the in-store mask requirement is enough for now until herd immunity opens the commercial floodgates.

- Consumers are not going to come back until they feel comfortable. And I feel that they're going to feel comfortable when they are fully vaccinated themselves and when they feel like a sufficient percentage of the population is vaccinated.

DAVID WADE: All right, let's bring Jon Keller in now. And Jon, what does Governor Baker think about the idea of a vaccine passport?

JON KELLER: Well David, he was asked about it at a press availability today, and he treated the question as if you had handed him a flaming hot potato. Take a look at his response.

CHARLIE BAKER: I think having a conversation about creating a barrier before people have even had an opportunity to be eligible to be vaccinated, let's focus on getting people vaccinated.

JON KELLER: Now you could say he's ducking the question, but I think he has a point. Look, the statistics show that vaccine skepticism, people who say, no, I don't want any part of that, those numbers have been declining as people see that the vaccine can be administered safely. Let's give that a chance to happen, see if we can get to herd immunity, and then this extensive vaccine passport that people are so worried about, in some ways justifiably, may not even be necessary at all. I think switching to decaf coffee on this one is a good idea all around, David.

DAVID WADE: Well, I never believe in decaf coffee, but I do believe that this is something we should talk about later on down the road. Jon Keller, thank you so much. Appreciate it. Take care.

- And we have--