Orange County supervisors voted on Tuesday to stop seeking to provide people with digital proof of coronavirus vaccination after weeks some residents objected to the idea, saying the move was a mandatory vaccination passport .
After being informed that there were hundreds of public speakers on the issue, Supervisors Chairman Andrew Do proposed a vote to stop digital vaccine recordings at Tuesday’s public meeting.
“It’s about taking a break for now and stopping all work on developing a digital record or QR code as a form of verification for vaccination – that’s it,” Do said. .
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He said he had acted “to get this problem off the table, so as not to confuse residents who might want to get vaccinated”.
Public commentary ended at 2:45 p.m. and supervisors resumed the meeting just before 3:00 p.m.
Supervisors voted 4-1 to stop seeking to provide digital vaccine records.
âWhat I’m talking about here is any system that would provide vaccination records to third parties for verification. In other words, any kind of verification system other than a CDC vaccination card, âDo said just before the vote.
For weeks, meetings of county supervisors were interrupted by residents concerned over allegations the county would force people to get vaccinated and demand vaccine passports before going to businesses and buildings in the county. .
At Tuesday’s meeting, around 500 people submitted cards to speak out on the issue.
County officials have repeatedly said they will not force anyone to be vaccinated, require proof of vaccination before entering a county building, or require people to carry proof of vaccination.
But CO officials have no say in which private companies may want to make sure their customers are vaccinated.
Many residents wanted county supervisors to ban businesses from requiring proof of vaccination at Tuesday’s meeting.
State public health officials have created a de facto incentive for businesses – like athletic stadiums and concert halls – to require proof of vaccination or negative tests if they want to have more people in businesses.
Supervisor Don Wagner said that many people âfall prey to the disinformation that exists. By the way, disinformation continues on both sides. ”
Wagner was referring to inaccurate viral articles about him questioning county health director Dr Clayton Chau about some of the residents’ claims.
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A snippet of those questions went viral on social media, but the clip lacked context and didn’t include parts of the public commentary that prompted Wagner to ask the questions in an attempt to debunk conspiracy theories.
âI hope the people who are here I have no doubts at all, but maybe be afraid of what they read on social networks, it is not true. Maybe be afraid the county is watching them somehow, âWagner said.
Supervisor Katrina Foley was the only one to support digital proof of vaccinations.
âI’m not going to be able to agree with you on this one,â Foley said. âI believe that a strong majority of the community we serve supports having a convenient digital recording so that they can live their lives. It’s critical to our economic engine here in Orange County, âsaid Foley.
She said that efforts to stop providing digital evidence of vaccines “appease a small faction in our community – a very small faction in our community – who are in fact not going to get the vaccine. They’ve already told us they don’t want vaccines, âFoley said.
Supervisors Lisa Bartlett and Doug Chaffee said the decision to provide digital proof of vaccination deters officials from trying to vaccinate enough people for herd immunity.
âWe still need to vaccinate about 740,000 more people here in our county and we don’t want to distract from our goals and objectives by doing so,â Bartlett said.
Chaffee said he hopes that by ending discussions about digital documentation, supervisors can once again carry out routine activities in their meetings.
âWe cannot have the passport issue interfering, in the future, with our normal activities,â Chaffee said.
CO resident Leigh Dundas has arranged for people online to show up at county supervisor meetings and CO Education Council meetings to reject mandatory vaccinations and shoot passports.
Public commentary at these meetings has become a hotbed of conspiracy theories.
Dundas said community members are also helping fund a series of TV commercials warning people about vaccine passports.
âThey were funded by everyone,â Dundas told supervisors. “This [vaccine passport] is a plan that has 1984, Nazi Germany [in it] â¦ No one is a fan.
Many public commentators have said that the idea of ââcompulsory vaccines and passports is fascist and linked the idea to the Holocaust perpetrated by Nazi Germany.
Some wore stars – reminiscent of what the Third Reich made Jews wear in Germany and its territories.
Similar comments angered leaders of Orange County’s Jewish community last month.
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Tuesday’s comments were made shortly after the 76th anniversary of Nazi Germany’s surrender in 1945 to Allied forces, ending the war in Europe.
Allied forces began to find Nazi-run death camps in early April 1945 – 76 years ago – as they moved closer to the Third Reich on the Western and Eastern Fronts.
At the end of April 1945, American troops found the Dachau death camp.
âIt’s a Nazi-type thing that you do,â a woman told county supervisors on Tuesday, adding that she was Jewish.
Another woman said: “It’s worse than the Nazis”.
Rabbi Peter Levi, OC and Long Beach regional director for the Anti-Defamation League, said the comparisons were offensive and couldn’t be further from the truth.
âThe Holocaust was about taking away people’s freedoms and murdering them – it was genocide. And our current situation is that our county health authorities are trying to save lives, preserve health, and open up our communities – there are no analogies or proper comparisons here, âLevi said during a telephone interview on Tuesday.
He said the comparisons “distract from rational conversations and positions that need to be put forward” on immunization efforts.
It’s part of a growing local trend, Levi said.
âWe’ve seen this in the anti-vaxxer movement for a while. This is not new to the pandemic, it is something that predates it. It has unfortunately been seized, especially locally here, âhe said. “These attention seekers don’t even think for a second of the murder of 6 million Jews and 1.5 million children during the Holocaust.”
Meanwhile, hospitalizations due to the OC virus continue to remain low.
84 people were hospitalized on Tuesday, including 18 in intensive care units, according to the county Health care agency.
The virus has now killed 5,017 people – more than nine times the flu on an annual average.
COVID deaths have exceeded the average annual CO cancer deaths.
It also killed more heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and stroke on an annual average, respectively.
Orange County has averaged about 20,000 deaths per year since 2016, including 543 annual flu deaths, according to health data status.
Last year, more than 24,400 OC residents died, according to the latest data on health status.
Cancer kills more than 4,600 people, heart disease kills more, according to state death statistics
2,800, more than 1,400 die of Alzheimer’s disease, and strokes kill more than 1,300 people.