Facts Matter: Government won't require vaccine passport

  • Although there are some private companies developing a digital vaccine passport for people to show they have been inoculated, the federal government has no plan to require such a certificate for domestic travel, as some have claimed.

    Although there are some private companies developing a digital vaccine passport for people to show they have been inoculated, the federal government has no plan to require such a certificate for domestic travel, as some have claimed. AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

  • Associated Press

  • Ted Cruz

    Ted Cruz

  • Liz Cheney

    Liz Cheney

 
 
Updated 4/17/2021 6:22 PM

As an increasing number of people are receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, social media posts are claiming the federal government will require a health passport for domestic travel.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster tweeted, "President Biden and the Democrats want to force Americans to present a 'vaccine passport' upon demand, yet they oppose presenting an ID to cast a vote."

 

Although there are some private companies developing a digital vaccine passport for people to show they have been inoculated, the federal government has no plan to require such a certificate for any activity.

"Not now, nor will we be supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on April 6. "There will be no federal vaccinations database and no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential."

Some foreign countries, such as the U.K. and Israel, have been testing the idea of health certificates, but Georgetown University professor Lawrence O. Gostin told The Associated Press that the internet claims are false.

"There are no plans in the U.S. to introduce a vaccine passport for domestic travel," he said. "Neither the government nor the U.S. airline industry have announced any plans for requiring proof of vaccination as a condition of interstate travel."

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Quote not from Cruz

A photo of Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, along with a quote questioning the condition of migrants crossing the southern border, has been shared more than 25,000 times on social media.

The comment supposedly has the Texas senator also suggesting the border crisis is "orchestrated."

But Cruz never said that.

"(It's a) categorically false quote that is being wrongly attributed to him on social media," Cruz spokesperson Steve Guest told USA Today.

The quote, which doesn't appear on any of Cruz's social media accounts, seems to have originated in a March 27 Twitter post and subsequently was attributed to the senator, USA Today said.

The photo actually is Cruz, taken in June by photographer Jonathan Newton during a Senate committee meeting.

Cheney underestimates plan

President Joe Biden recently rolled out his $2.65 trillion proposal, the American Jobs Plan. But some Republicans said the infrastructure plan didn't put enough funding toward infrastructure.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Something less than 6% ... of this proposal that President Biden has put forward is actually focused on infrastructure," Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, of Wyoming, said during an April 11 interview on CBS.

Cheney has a narrow interpretation of infrastructure, according to PolitiFact.com.

"Roads, bridges, and highways are what constitutes 'infrastructure,'" a spokesperson from Cheney's office told PolitiFact.

However, in addition to roads, bridges and highways, Biden's plan has $85 billion for public transit, $80 billion for the rail system, $42 billion for airports, ports and waterways, $200 billion for internet and the power infrastructure, $111 billion for the water supply and $50 billion to protect critical infrastructure and land and water resources.

Those items make up about 26% of Biden's proposal.

Neckbelts never used

A meme circulating on social media shows two people riding in a convertible with what appear to be seat belts hooked around their necks and fastened to the back of the seat. The caption reads, "A concept design for car safety belts from the 1960s."

But this wasn't an idea in the '60s or any other time, according to Snopes.com.

There is no record that a design for neck belts was ever considered, "and for obvious reasons it would be an extraordinarily bad idea," Snopes said.

Seat belts, the lap belt with a diagonal shoulder strap, were invented in 1958 by a Swedish engineer for Volvo.

The idea for neck belts possibly came from the 2008 comedy "The Onion Movie," Snopes said. In the movie, cars with neckbelts are recalled because they "have been found to cause crushed tracheas, severe spinal damage and violent decapitations."

• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at boboswald33@gmail.com.

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