Gov. Parson: Vaccine Passports 'Never' Will Be Allowed in Missouri Missouri Gov. Mike Parson delivers the State of the State address Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, in Jefferson City, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Wednesday, 07 April 2021 10:38 AM
Gov. Mike Parson, R-Mo., Wednesday joined other state leaders in opposing potential vaccine passports in his state, saying that allowing them would be a violation of privacy.
"Do we really want the federal government to have all that information in its database to be able to use it for whatever reason they might want to use it, as time goes forward?" Parson said on Fox News' "Fox and Friends.' "I think it's way premature. We are never going to do that in the state of Missouri. We are never going to have a mandate, a passport, a vaccine passport, in this state."
He added there are still too many "unknowns" concerning the vaccine and the COVID-19 pandemic, overall.
"So many people who were experts turned out to not be experts," Parson said. "Who knows where this vaccine is going to go. I'm not sure what the end result of this is going to be yet on what it does."
He said if people want to carry the card they get when they're vaccinated, that would be fine because it's their right, but added it's not the place of the government to mandate a passport.
Parson said Missouri never ordered a mandate or shut down businesses, and has remained among the top 10 states in the country in terms of the economy and unemployment rate.
Still, Missouri is second in the nation in terms of having fully vaccinated residents.
"I think everybody just jumps to a knee-jerk reaction when I think you have got to mandate the American people to do something, and that's not who we are," Parson said.
When it comes to private businesses requiring a vaccination record, however, that is different, Parson said, because people do have a choice whether to go there — the government shouldn't set such mandates.
Parson said he does encourage people to get their vaccinations.
"We know from early stages, especially here in the state of Missouri where we did the most vulnerable people 65 years and older, people with health conditions, we know those numbers have gone down in the hospitals," said Parson, adding fatality rates also have dropped. He added that those numbers were starting to come down before the vaccines started.
"There are so many unknowns to this yet that we don't know what the end result of this is, and I think it will be years to know exactly how this virus works," Parson said. "I think you have got to be very cautious as you move forward when you start talking about people's individual rights and their freedoms."
He said governors must make sure that they are not imposing on the freedoms of people in their states while doing all they can to make sure people are safe and healthy.
Mandates, such as requirements to wear masks, also don't give Americans enough credit to take care of themselves.
"We have some smart people out there," he said. "They know how to make the right decisions to protect themselves, their friends, and their families. Just let them do it and they will. I think our state is proof of that."