Dr. Drew faces backlash after saying vaccine passports ‘strip’ people of their freedom

Celebrity doctor Drew Pinsky is facing social media backlash after tweeting Monday morning that COVID-19 vaccine passports would “segregate people and strip them of their freedom to travel internationally.”

Twitter users quickly pointed out that some countries recommend and require vaccinations from certain diseases that are rare in the United States in order to travel. Personal health, vaccination record and countries planning on visit can determine if a person needs to become vaccinated from certain diseases before traveling, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The 62-year-old addiction medicine specialist added he encourages people to get the vaccine, but questioned, how people would, “feel if international travel also required other vaccinations?”

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I feel like one of the underlying stories behind the “vaccine passport” freakout is that a lot of these people have never traveled, or know people who travel a lot, or know people who frequently have to apply for visas https://t.co/Ek1XdwGISm

This guy is a “doctor” and doesn’t know many vaccines are required by scores of countries for international travel? https://t.co/86Vdcv51Oj

Vaccine passports have gotten national attention as the White House, airlines and others in the travel industry support of establishing one as a travel requirement. New York state introduced their own version of the passport where citizens could prove they’ve been vaccinated against or tested negative for COVID-19.

Israel and Europe have taken the lead on developing a secure digital immunity certification. The U.S. does not currently require “vaccination passport,” but it is something the travel industry is pushing for.

This is not the first time Pinsky has come under fire during the pandemic. In March 2020 he downplayed COVID-19, saying it caused a “press-induced panic.” He apologized for his comments a month later.

Pinsky took to Twitter once more on Monday to reiterate that COVID-19 vaccination is “a choice.”

Getting a vaccine is a choice, and I encourage everyone to get vaccinated, but why just covid? What about the flu, measles, polio, tetanus, HPV, pneumovax, shingrex?

Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jord_mendoza.

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