TEXAS has banned vaccine passports as Governor Greg Abbott filed an executive order to ensure the “personal freedom” of residents.
The Lone Star state governor filed the Executive Order on Tuesday morning.
Texas has banned vaccine passports
The order also “prohibits organizations receiving public funds from requiring consumers to provide documentation of vaccine status in order to receive any service or enter any place.”
The state’s website says that a “political subdivision” can include anything from a county, municipality or school district.
In a statement, released to his Twitter this morning, Abbott said: “Don’t tread on our personal freedoms.”
“Everyday, Texans are returning to normal life as more people get the safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine. But, as I’ve said all along, these vaccines are always voluntary and never forced,” the governor said.
The governor disagrees with the vaccine passportsCredit: Getty
“Government should not require any Texan to show proof of vaccination and reveal private health information just to go about their daily lives. That is why I have issued an Executive Order that prohibits government-mandated vaccine passports in Texas.
“We will continue to vaccinate more Texans and protect public health — and we will do so without treading on Texans’ personal freedoms.”
Over four million people have already been fully vaccinated in Texas, with almost double having at least received their first dose of the jab.
Vaccine passports are being developed to verify people’s Covid-19 immunization status and allow inoculated people to more freely travel, shop and dine.
However, some Republicans have been portraying them as a heavy-handed intrusion into personal freedom and private health choices.
On Tuesday morning, former president Trump’s eldest son, Don Jr, said that for Republicans who are not “aggressively opposing” the passports it “may be time to find another career.”
“This concept could be the greatest affront on our freedoms in recent history and if you don’t see that it’s a problem,” he wrote.
QAnon Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene retweeted Jr’s comments, writing “This is why I introduced the We Will Not Comply Act.”
They currently exist in only one state — a limited government partnership in New York with a private company — but that hasn’t stopped GOP lawmakers in a handful of states from rushing out legislative proposals to ban their use.
Vaccine passports are typically an app with a code that verifies whether someone has been vaccinated or recently tested negative for Covid-19Credit: Getty
The Lone Star state governor filed the Executive Order on Tuesday morningCredit: AP
Vaccine passports are typically an app with a code that verifies whether someone has been vaccinated or recently tested negative for Covid-19.
They are in use in Israel and under development in parts of Europe, seen as a way to safely help rebuild the pandemic- devastated travel industry.
They are intended to allow businesses to more safely open up as the vaccine drive gains momentum, and they mirror measures already in place for schools and overseas travel that require proof of immunization against various diseases.
But lawmakers around the country are already taking a stand against the idea.
GOP senators in Pennsylvania are drawing up legislation that would prohibit vaccine passports, also known as health certificates or travel passes, from being used to bar people from routine activities.
Medical workers collect information from passports of foreign journalists waiting to be inoculated with the Covid-19 vaccineCredit: AFP
“We have constitutional rights and health privacy laws for a reason,” said Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, a Republican.
“They should not cease to exist in a time of crisis. These passports may start with Covid-19, but where will they end?”
Benninghoff said this week his concern was “using taxpayer money to generate a system that will now be, possibly, in the hands of mega-tech organizations who’ve already had problems with getting hacked and security issues.”
A Democratic colleague, Rep Chris Rabb of Philadelphia, sees value in vaccine passports if they are implemented carefully.
“There’s a role for using technology and other means to confirm people’s statuses,” Rabb said. “But we do have concerns around privacy, surveillance and inequitable access.”
Republican legislators in other states have also been drafting proposals to ban or limit them.
A bill introduced in the Arkansas Legislature on Wednesday would prevent government officials from requiring vaccine passports for any reason, and would ban their use as a condition of “entry, travel, education, employment or services.”
The sponsor, Republican state Sen. Trent Garner, called vaccine passports “just another example of the Biden administration using Covid-19 to put regulations or restrictions on everyday Americans.”
President Joe Biden’s administration has largely taken a hands-off approach on vaccine passports.