Updated: Dec 2, 2021
No shirt, no shoes, no proof of vaccination, no service. Angelenos are now wrongfully obligated to abide by the strictest vaccine mandates in the country.
Opinion By Marcos Franco, Managing Editor
Enjoying a meal in public while catching up with friends and family should not be determined by vaccination status. Requiring proof at the door is not only a nuisance, but also intrusive to personal information.
As Los Angeles County begins to enforce proof of vaccination to enter restaurants, bars, gyms and coffee shops, people should not be forced to share their vaccination records to lead a normal life. The county adopted SafePassLA on Nov. 8 which requires patrons to share proof of immunization against COVID in order to enter most businesses. The initiative originally included malls and shopping centers on the list but was revised by City Council since it would be difficult to enforce a mandate at all entrances of a mall. The county will begin cracking down on businesses who do not comply with the order starting on Nov. 29, fining them $1,000 for the second offense, and increasing by the thousands thereafter. Passing the responsibility of enforcing vaccination status onto employees is a lazy and ineffective method on local lawmaker’s part.
Although the FDA announced emergency use authorization of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 -11 in late October, the mandate will not apply to kids under 12 years old. The Pfizer vaccine was fully approved by the FDA on Aug. 23 and is still the only brand to be given the green light. While both Pfizer and Moderna doses have proven to be up to 95 percent effective at preventing the virus, mask wearing will still be enforced despite workers confirming full vaccination at the door, questioning the protection the vaccine offers.
According to the CDC, Immunization Information Systems (IIS) are computer programs protected under state law, preventing vaccine records from being shared without patient approval. While records are disclosed by patrons themselves prior to entering a business, they have no choice but to share that personal information with employees if they want to grab a quick meal or drink, which is unfair to abide by.
When first made widely available to the public in January, COVID-19 vaccines were a promising end to the pandemic but even after nearly 200 million Americans have been fully vaccinated, the country is still not out of the woods. When first elected to office, President Joe Biden mapped out his goal to distribute 100 million vaccine doses within his first 100 days in office. By April, Biden surpassed that target, doubling his promise with more than 200 million doses administered in the United States. Although the news came as a relief to the American people, the country is still distant from reaching herd immunity — which would require at least 70 percent of the U.S. population to be fully inoculated against the virus according to Mayo Clinic. So far 60 percent of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated.
In a recent publicity stunt that caught the attention of internet users, 22 year-old Italian college student Andrea Colonnetta tattooed his personal COVID-19 immunization QR code on his bicep. Although the tattoo can be interpreted as being foolish or in poor judgement, it may have been a reasonable decision in the modern day that will serve as a readily accessible vaccine record forfeiture to business owners.
Unfortunately after more than 20 months of being inconvenienced by and adapting to the pandemic, lawmakers have yet to lead the country to the finish line. Phone, wallet, keys and proof of vaccination are the new checklist for ensuring an obstacle-free day before leaving the house. Vaccine records are private and personal health information and the need to share those records with a doorman or restaurant employee is a breach of privacy.