Acting Boston mayor compares vaccine passports to documentation required during slavery

Acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey balked at the idea of mandating proof of COVID-19 vaccines in her city, comparing the idea to slavery policies.

“We know that those types of things are difficult to enforce when it comes to vaccines,” the Democratic mayor said Tuesday after a reporter asked her about the vaccine passport mandate in New York City.

“There’s a long history in this country of people needing to show their papers — whether we’re talking about this from the standpoint of, you know, as a way to, after — during slavery, post-slavery, as recent as, you know, what the immigrant population has to go through,” she continued.

For example, Janey referenced a conspiracy surrounding former President Barack Obama’s victory in the 2008 presidential election. Former President Donald Trump, among others, urged to see his birth certificate to prove his eligibility to win office.

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“We’ve heard Trump with the birth certificate nonsense,” Janey said. “Here, we want to make sure that we are not doing anything that would further create a barrier for residents of Boston or disproportionately impact BIPOC communities.”

The difficulty in enforcing such an order extends to businesses requiring employees or customers to get vaccinated, Janey said.

“We want to make sure that we are giving every opportunity for folks to get vaccinated. When it comes to what businesses may choose to do, we know that those types of things are difficult to enforce when it comes to the vaccine,” she said.

Janey, who assumed office after former Mayor Marty Walsh was chosen as President Joe Biden’s secretary of labor, has been criticized over her comments by liberal activists and some of her Democratic colleagues.

City Councilor Andrea Campbell, who is running to replace Janey, called her remarks “dangerous” and said comparisons to “slavery or birtherism” should not be made.

“When we are combating a deadly virus & vaccine hesitancy, this kind of rhetoric is dangerous. Showing proof of vaccination is not slavery or birtherism. We are too close to give ground to COVID. Science is science. It’s pretty simple: vax up and mask up,” she said.

City Councilor Michelle Wu, another mayoral candidate, said state and local leaders should be boosting confidence in the vaccines.

“Anyone in a position of leadership should be using that position to build trust in vaccines,” she said.

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Boston has “no current plans” to follow New York’s example in implementing a mandate, Janey said in a separate statement Tuesday.

“Earlier today, I pointed out several hurdles facing communities of color with lower vaccination rates,” she said. “These hurdles should not be excuses, but we must consider our shared history as we work to ensure an equitable public health and economic recovery.”

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Tags: Boston, Democrats, New York City, Coronavirus, President Obama

Original Author: Lawrence Richard

Original Location: Acting Boston mayor compares vaccine passports to documentation required during slavery

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