Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced a ban on government-mandated vaccine passports Tuesday morning.
The Republican governor issued an executive order on Monday banning any regulation that would require Texans to show proof of vaccination before getting a product or service. The order also blocks all businesses or entities receiving state funds from requiring vaccine documentation, as well.
“Every day, Texans return to normalcy as more people get the COVID vaccine. In fact, this week, Texas will surpass 13 million doses administered,” Abbott said in a Tuesday video announcement. “Those shots help slow the spread of COVID, reduce hospitalizations, and reduce fatalities.”
“But, as I have said all along, these vaccines are always voluntary and never forced. Government should not require any Texan to show proof of vaccination and reveal private health information just to go about their daily lives,” the governor continued. “That is why I 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.”
The order exempts nursing homes and long-term care facilities, allowing them to require proof of vaccination as need to protect their residents.
Abbott’s order comes after Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a similar order last week. DeSantis announced his intention at a press conference in March.
“It’s completely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to impose upon you the requirement that you show proof of vaccine to just simply participate in normal society,” DeSantis said. “You want to go to a movie theater, should you have to show that? No. You want to go to a game, a theme park? No. So we’re not supportive of that.”
“We always said we wanted to provide it for all but mandate it for none,” he continued. “And that was something that, while it was advised to take particularly if you’re vulnerable, we were not going to force you to do it.”
DeSantis said that vaccine passports would be a significant threat to Americans’ privacy.
“You’re going to do this and, what, give all this information to some big corporation? You want the fox to guard the hen house? I mean give me a break,” the governor said. “I think this is something that has huge privacy implications. It is not necessary to do.”
New York became the first state to implement a COVID-19 vaccine passport in February. As The Daily Wire reported:
Called the Excelsior Pass, the passport will be at first used at large venues like Madison Square Garden. But next week, arts and entertainment venues across the state will be using it.
“As they would with an airline boarding pass, people will be able to prove their health status with a digital QR code – or ‘quick response’ machine-readable label,” USA Today reported.
“They’ll need to download the Excelsior Pass app, enter their name, date of birth, and ZIP code, and answer a series of personal questions to confirm their identity. The data will come from the state’s vaccine registry and will be linked to testing data from a number of pre-approved testing companies.”