Vaccine Passport? Acting Boston Mayor Calls Possibility 'A Slippery Slope'

WBZ-TV political analyst Jon Keller talks to acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey.

Video Transcript

JON KELLER: Good morning, everyone. It's our pleasure to speak today with the acting mayor of Boston, the honorable Kim Janey, who, last week announced she'll be running for re-election in her own right this fall. Mayor, welcome. Good to have you with us.

KIM JANEY: Thank you so much, Jon. It's great to be here.

JON KELLER: So let's start with the issue that's obviously consuming everybody right now, which is the pandemic and the issues raised by it. At some point in the not too distant future, everyone who wants one will have had the opportunity to get vaccinated, hopefully, sooner rather than later. We're already seeing some local institutions, universities, for instance, saying to the students if you want to come back on campus this fall, you're going to have to prove you were vaccinated. Do you believe businesses in the city should at some point have the right to deny access to customers who can't or won't show proof of vaccination?

KIM JANEY: You know, I think that is a slippery slope. Obviously, as mayor, I want everyone in our city to get the protection they need through the vaccine. We understand, though, there have been a few bumps in the road in terms of supply and getting the information out to people so that they can make informed decisions, certainly lifting up ways to help communities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID in terms of the number of cases or deaths get vaccinated.

And so this is truly an equity issue. And we have to make sure, first and foremost, that the vaccine is available, that there's equitable access to it, and confidence in the vaccine. So I, as mayor, launched the Hope campaign earlier to help with that effort and making sure that folks have that information in their own languages. We do have a hotline at the city. We are lifting up all kinds of ways that people can get vaccinated from the mass vaccination sites to priority clinics to the mobile vaccination clinics, which I'm a big fan of, meeting people where they are.

We see that people are, even airports have said this or airlines, but until everyone is vaccinated, until we get to herd immunity, we have to be careful about denying access to certain things. That being said, we do need to make sure people are getting vaccinated because that's the way we're going to be safe.

JON KELLER: Well, Mayor, let me flip the question around. Do you see yourself, as the mayor, interfering with a businesses' decision to bar access to people who can't show they've been vaccinated?

KIM JANEY: I'm going to make sure that I am having conversations with the institutes of higher ed, the business community, anyone who is making those kinds of determinations. Because what we don't want to have happen is to see more disparity in terms of who has access to certain things in our city based on that. But I do want to stress the importance that we all get vaccinated.

But still, until we stamp this out completely, we run the risk of more variants, we run the risk of prolonging this semi shutdown. So we really want to prioritize and emphasize the importance of getting the vaccine. We are so close to being at the end of the tunnel. And if we can just do our part, we can get to the other side so that we do come out stronger than before, and we have that opportunity if we all do our part and work together.