Right-wing media have spent the last nine months vigorously opposing most coronavirus mitigation efforts -- a pattern that is continuing in response to newly proposed vaccine requirements. Now, conservative outlets and figures are fearmongering that civil rights will be trampled after public health officials introduced the idea of issuing vaccine identification cards, which could be used by businesses, airlines, and other institutions to verify an individual’s vaccine status before allowing them access to services.
This new resistance to vaccine requirements is consistent with right-wing media’s relentless efforts to oppose any attempts to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus pandemic; they have criticized everything from
On December 2, the Department of Defense released the first images of COVID-19 vaccination cards that will be issued to people who have received the vaccine, which will require two doses.
Vaccination cards will be used as the “simplest” way to keep track of Covid-19 shots, said Dr. Kelly Moore, associate director of the Immunization Action Coalition, which is supporting frontline workers who will administer Covid-19 vaccinations.
"Everyone will be issued a written card that they can put in their wallet that will tell them what they had and when their next dose is due," Moore said. "Let's do the simple, easy thing first. Everyone's going to get that."
Vaccination clinics will also be reporting to their state immunization registries what vaccine was given, so that, for example, an entity could run a query if it didn't know where a patient got a first dose.
Moore said many places are planning to ask patients to voluntarily provide a cell phone number, so they can get a text message telling them when and where their next dose is scheduled to be administered.
The news, along with new developments regarding the vaccine over the last several weeks, has prompted a swirl of questions and speculation around whether businesses, airlines, and employers will require customers to have the vaccine in order to return to pre-pandemic operations. (In one such example, reports recently claimed that Ticketmaster will be requiring the vaccine before concerts, which the company has denied.)
Right-wing media figures have been complaining about the idea of private entities, such as airlines and other businesses, mandating the vaccine before customers use their facilities or employees return to work. With the news of the vaccination cards -- which many have misleadingly claimed will be a form of identification -- conservative media are increasingly vocal about their opposition to vaccine requirements. In reality, the widespread implementation of the vaccine is essential to slowing the spread of the coronavirus in a country where the case and death rates are abysmally high.
- The Federalist published an article complaining that “government and corporations” will “force” low-risk individuals to take the vaccine, claiming that “the same businesses that successfully coerced an entire populace into covering their faces for nearly any normal activity will be able to apply the same logic to vaccines” because “Big Brother’s Got Nothing on Big Business.”
- Newsmax’s John Cardillo tweeted, “If you let them force a COVID vaccine and a proof of vaccination card, America is dead.”
- The Daily Caller’s Shelby Talcott tweeted that vaccination cards are a “slippery slope.”
- The Gateway Pundit described the Immunization Action Coalition’s calls for vaccination cards as “creepy as hell.” (The organization works with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support frontline health care workers and disseminate accurate information about the vaccine.)
- Conservative commentator Mindy Robinson tweeted: “Don’t worry guys, they’re not going to ‘force’ us to get the vaccine...they’re just going to force us to take it to go to work. You have ZERO right to mandate that we put an untested vaccine into our bodies for a flu with a 99.9% survival rate, and we will fight you on this.”
- TheBlaze’s Elijah Schaffer drew a false equivalence between voter identification laws that are tantamount to voter suppression and COVID-19 vaccination cards.
- Right-wing commentator Allie Beth Stuckey made a similar point, tweeting, “Tell me how Voter ID is oppressive but a Covid vaccine ID that grants you access to certain spaces isn’t.”
- In November, Fox host Laura Ingraham criticized businesses for saying they will require proof customers and workers have received the coronavirus vaccine.