(WKBN) – One suggestion to stop the spread of the virus is the use of COVID-19 passports, but two local representatives plan to introduce legislation that would prohibit them in Ohio.
State Reps. Al Cutrona, R-Canfield, and Mike Loychik, R-Bazetta, have co-sponsored legislation they say would prohibit entities from requiring citizens to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination in order to be allowed entry into an area or establishment.
“Ohioans are encouraged to take the COVID-19 vaccine for the health and well-being of themselves and others,” Cutrona said. “However, a vaccine should not be mandated or required by our government for our people to integrate back to a sense of normalcy. We’ve had restrictions on our freedoms for over a year and more restrictions or mandates are not the answer to every issue related to COVID-19.”
“First and foremost, vaccine passports have no place in a free society,” Loychik said. “Simultaneously, while everyone has a right to get a vaccine, a massive adoption of vaccine passports both across our state and nation would only lead to a slow economic recovery and further hinder businesses as we all seek to get back to normal.”
As a chief operating officer at an infectious disease practice in Mahoning County, Cutrona said he foresees privacy being a problem if a vaccine passport program were to be implemented.
“It’s the technology that’s behind it. You have the government stepping in with big tech companies going after people’s personal information. That worries me and is a concern. As somebody in the health care field, I worry about patient privacy,” Cutrona said.
Within the U.S., New York is the first state to announce a vaccine passport program called “Excelsior Pass,” which will use QR code technology to allow individuals into venues. The state claims no personal information would be shared.
The legislation is currently seeking cosponsors within the Ohio House.
Cutrona and Loychik plan to introduce it when Ohio lawmakers return to session in a few weeks.