Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an order Tuesday that prohibits state agencies from creating COVID-19 vaccine passports, becoming the second governor to ban use of such documents.
Abbott, who signed his order just days after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive action last Friday, said he will not infringe on the personal freedoms of Lone Star State residents.
“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,” Abbott said in a statement posted on his Twitter account.
“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,” the statement continued. “We will continue to vaccinate more Texans and protect public health — and we will do so without treading on Texans’ personal freedoms.”
DeSantis’ executive order goes further than the one in Texas by not only stopping government agencies from using a passport but also prohibiting businesses from requiring one.
“Those shots help slow the spread of COVID-19, reduce hospitalizations and reduce fatalities,” he said. “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.”
As of Monday, Texas, which has lowered eligibility to people as young as 16, has administered more than 12 million doses of the vaccine, the governor’s executive order said.
The Biden administration is working with private industries to help them develop a vaccine passport, and New York has already rolled out its “Excelsior Pass,” a digital app that will allow vaccinated people to gain entry to large sporting and music venues like Madison Square Garden.