Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) issued an executive order on Monday that would prohibit the use of ‘vaccine passports.’ 

The conservative Texas governor joins Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who had previously issued a similar order.

Abbott argued that the use of ‘vaccine passports’ would be an unacceptable infringement on Texans’ rights.

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Abbott Joins Florida Gov. DeSantis

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Abbott said,  

“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. 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.”

Governor Abbott is the latest Republican governor to prohibit the use of vaccine passports.

Last week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) also issued an executive order banning the use of the COVID-19 documentation.

The Executive Order signed by DeSantis reads in part, “Individual COVID-19 vaccination records are private health information and should not be shared by a mandate.”

During a press conference on Monday, DeSantis went on to say, “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 be able to participate in normal society.”

Abbott came under fire in early March for issuing an executive order that lifted the mask mandate, and allowed the opening of all businesses at full capacity on March 10.

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More Republican Governors Are Saying No To Vaccine Passports

In addition to Gov. Abbott and Gov. DeSantis, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has stated that he supports legislation to prohibit vaccine passports.

“I am supporting legislation to prohibit any government-mandated vaccine passports to protect the privacy of Tennesseans’ health information and ensure this vaccine remains a voluntary, personal decision,” Lee said.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves has also come out against vaccine passports, saying, “I don’t support vaccine passports. I don’t think it’s necessary and I don’t think it’s a good thing to do in America.”

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson was also adamant about opposing of vaccine passports. “I do NOT support a vaccine passport and have no intention of implementing one in the State of Missouri.”

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Will Vaccine Passports Come To Pass?

In a report from The Hill, Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Monday that the federal government will not mandate documentation of COVID-19 vaccinations.

He added, “I doubt that the federal government will be the main mover of a vaccine passport concept. They may be involved in making sure things are done fairly and equitably, but I doubt if the federal government is gonna be the leading element of that.”

The White House has in fact ruled out any federal mandate regarding vaccine passports, saying it will let the private sector “take the lead.”

Many Americans have asked whether a vaccine passport would violate any laws against the distribution of personal health information, also known as HIPAA. 

According to Lisa Proskin, managing Attorney at the Proskin Law Firm based in Albany New York, any app or paper documentation does not violate HIPAA laws because it is the individual themselves who are downloading the app or seeking out the vaccine passport themselves. 

Proskin goes on to say, “I don’t think it falls within HIPAA. If the vaccine required something with the doctor and the doctors were providing all of this information, it might be a little different. But the way it stands now, the person doing it, the person downloading the passport, is the one entering all of the information.”

 

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