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Californians back proof of COVID vaccine or negative test at workplaces, other venues

Priscella Vega, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

In Orange County, hundreds recently attended a Board of Supervisors meeting to oppose a pilot “passport program.” Despite assurances from officials, some opponents insisted the passports could be used to track people and reveal private health care information, and enable the county to favor residents who chose to get vaccinated.

Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, director of the medical ethics program at UC Irvine and a member of Orange County’s vaccine task force, has said he understands concerns over such proposals and tying vaccinations to some activities.

“If private entities start developing policies that deploy that tool as a gatekeeper, then I think the fears and concerns that many people are trying to express ... will be borne out,” he said. “I would consider blocking off access to otherwise ordinarily available public activities as a fairly heavy-handed form of coercion. I’m ‘pro’ let the person decide. Let the individual weigh their own risks and benefits.”

As of Monday, 59% of adults in the United States have received at least one dose of one of the available COVID-19 vaccines, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than half of Californians have received at least one dose, according to a Times analysis.

Even with the majority of poll respondents supporting vaccine requirements, they did not have a consensus on what role government should play in verifying vaccine verification.

Overall, 35% of residents said the government “should be responsible for establishing a uniform verification system,” according to poll data. An additional 32% said government should play only a limited role by ensuring that applications meet minimum standards for security, privacy and accessibility. About 25% said government should not be involved at all and 7% had no opinion.


A majority of Democrats indicated government should be responsible, while a majority of Republicans said government shouldn’t be involved.

“Nobody has a sense of how government would even do that,” Mora said. For some, government’s involvement would signify too much “oversight and overreach,” she said.

Even among residents with similar ideologies, opinions were mixed. A majority of voters who identified as strongly liberal said government should be involved but a majority of somewhat liberal voters said it should be a limited role. The majority of strongly conservative and somewhat conservative voters said government shouldn’t be involved at all.

“Some of it is just the unknown,” Mora said. “You can take it to a real extreme in which ... you have police people in all businesses and in every church. We’ve been living with the pandemic for a year now. Most people feel business have done what they’re going to do.”

About 10,200 of California’s registered voters were surveyed online in English and Spanish between April 29 and May 5. The margin of sampling error for the full survey is 2 points.

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