Rep. Sheila Lyman

Mainers have done their part to comply with government restrictions on their constitutional rights and freedoms because of COVID-19. At some point, Maine citizens must take back their right to make decisions about their own safety. That is why I am very concerned about rumors that the government, through mandates or coordination with large corporations, will possibly require citizens to have a vaccination passport.

The issue of vaccination passports is well beyond the goal of getting people vaccinated and the question of whether or not you should. More than 40% of the eligible population in the United States has already had at least one COVID vaccine shot.

It is a personal choice. I personally believe in tested, proven vaccines, offered with full transparency as to the benefits and risks involved. I have had the flu, shingles and pneumonia shots. Scientifically, I know vaccines have made a difference. The decision about receiving the COVID vaccine is a choice that belongs to every individual after carefully weighing his or her situation.

The COVID vaccine includes a vaccination certificate, so why be concerned about the idea of a vaccination passport? The passport is separate from the vaccination certificate because large corporations will have access to our medical and private information. The implications and possible motivations behind large companies tracking our sensitive information is concerning. If large corporations compile our health data in a digital vaccination passport, our personal information is also very vulnerable to hackers.

Requiring people to have a vaccination passport in order to travel, enter buildings, or move freely could restrict our constitutional rights to privacy, assembly, worship, and commerce. I have concerns about big government and big corporations that put their interests ahead of our own individual liberties.

At this point, I am not sure how much support the idea of vaccination passports will get, but people should follow the issue very carefully. You should be skeptical of those who say it would only be temporary. How often does government willingly give up power, or large corporations give up access to your data for opportunities to make money off it? Taking responsibility to be informed and to draw one’s own conclusions is an important step to sound decision-making.

Many Mainers have already paid a heavy price due to the pandemic. We need to make sure that our freedoms and rights have not been jeopardized after the virus has run its course. Keeping our liberties is the “pursuit of happiness.”

Rep. Sheila Lyman serves state House District 74 (Livermore Falls, Jay, Livermore).


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