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Efforts to block ‘vaccine passports’ are government overreach

Irony - (noun) the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.

Rep. Gae Magnafici of Dresser and Sen. Rob Stafsholt of New Richmond are worried about governmental overreach.

In general, this is an admirable trait in legislators. There should always be concern when the long arm of government reaches its way into businesses and homes and in the process picks pockets and steals away the power of individuals to make their own choices.

While it is great that Rep. Magnafici and Sen. Stafsholt say they want to work to prevent government from telling businesses what they can and cannot do. What they need to remember is that you get judged on what you do, not just on what you say.

In a fit of unwarranted government overreach, Rep. Magnafici and Sen. Stafsholt have proposed legislation which will prevent businesses from being able to require proof that patrons have been vaccinated. These so-called vaccine passports have been embraced by some in the travel, sports and entertainment industries as a way to regain consumer confidence and bring people back to concert venues, sporting events and cruise ships. States, such as New York, have created free cellphone applications showing vaccination status to allow entry into large venues like Madison Square Garden. For anyone familiar with showing animals, it is routine to have to show proof of vaccination for a range of diseases.

Magnafici and Stafsholt’s proposed legislation would seek to prevent Wisconsin businesses from setting up any type of vaccine passport program for fear that it could lead to discrimination against those who either cannot or will not be vaccinated. They would rather have stadiums remain empty and concert venues stay silent rather than allowing businesses to come up with a viable solution that could speed the return to normalcy while protecting their employees.

Vaccines are the safest, most costeffective way to protect people from disease. From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists, doctors and government officials recognized that development of a vaccine is the proverbial silver bullet that would defeat the virus. Thanks to ingenuity, unprecedented international cooperation and billions of dollars in government investment vaccination for COVID-19 is not just a dream, but a reality. As of this week, the vaccine is open to all people 16 and older with mass vaccination sites opening in Wausau and Eau Claire capable of administering thousands of doses each day. Taylor County residents can get on the county waiting list by leaving a message at 715-965-8830. They may also contact their local healthcare provider and the statewide vaccination registration at 1-844-684-1064 or online at vaccinate.

The faster health officials can get vaccines into people’s arms, the faster the people of Wisconsin can put COVID-19 behind them. The use of “vaccine passports” can provide an economic life preserver for businesses, venues and event organizers who have been among those most negatively impacted by the pandemic.

While the end goal is to reach herd immunity and have COVID-19 fade into the background of nuisance illnesses, until that time government must do what it can to support the efforts of businesses and not stand in their way.