AUSTIN, TX – Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order on Tuesday that effectively bans state government and some private businesses from requiring so-called “vaccine passports” – documents that prove an individual has been vaccinated against COVID-19 – before you can access their services; Texas now joins several other states that have already issued such bans, including Florida.
State agencies, political subdivisions, and publicly-funded public and private organizations are covered under Abbott’s ban, and are not allowed to require proof of COVID-19 immunization; the executive order also circumvents any conflicting orders from local governments in Texas and directs the Texas Legislature to discuss requirements for vaccination during its current session.
“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,” Abbott said in a statement. “We will continue to vaccinate more Texans and protect public health, and we will do so without treading on Texans’ personal freedoms.”Texas Governor Greg Abbott
This past Friday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued a similar executive order banning vaccine passports in his state; businesses are not allowed to require vaccination documentation and the local and state governments are not allowed to create any forms that could be used for such a purpose. Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves has also stated that he does not support vaccine passports, although he has not yet issued an executive order banning them.
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However, these actions by leaders such as Abbott and DeSantis are fueled mainly by speculation only at the moment, as the Administration of President Joe Biden stated on Tuesday that they will not be requiring a national vaccine passport, with acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Andy Slavitt instead saying that the decision should be left to the private sector to develop or not. Nonetheless, The White House is developing guidelines that can be used if such passports are actually privately developed.