Democrat Boston Mayor Kim Janey has compared vaccine passports to the papers required during slavery and Jim Crow.
Janey, the first black person to serve as mayor of the city, also compared vaccine passports to demands that former President Barack Obama show his birth certificate during the birtherism scandal.
“There’s a long history in this country of people needing to show their papers,” Janey said during an interview with NewsCenter 5. “During slavery, post-slavery, as recent as you know what immigrant population has to go through here. We heard Trump with the birth certificate nonsense. Here we want to make sure that we are not doing anything that would further create a barrier for residents of Boston or disproportionally impact [Black, Indigenous or people of color] communities.”
Janey made the comment when asked about the recent announcement from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio that people will be required to show proof of vaccination to enter indoor establishments like gyms and restaurants in the city.
“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,” Janey said.
The comments by Janey have outraged many of her fellow Democrats.
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.https://t.co/twxS1PJqYY
— Andrea J. Campbell (@andreaforboston) August 3, 2021
“When we are combating a deadly virus and vaccine hesitancy, this kind of rhetoric is dangerous,” City Councilor Andrea Campbell tweeted. “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.”
“Anyone in a position of leadership should be using that position to build trust in vaccines,” City Councilor Michelle Wu said in a statement.
Janey subsequently issued a statement saying “hurdles facing communities of color with lower vaccination rates” should not be excuses, but that the city “must consider our shared history as we work to ensure an equitable public health and economic recovery.”