Texas Gov. Abbott takes aim at ‘vaccine passports,’ issues order restricting state agencies

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday issued an executive order restricting the use of COVID-19 “vaccine passports.”

Republicans have largely condemned “vaccine passports,” or documentation affirming that a person has received the COVID-19 vaccine, in order to participate in certain public activities — an idea that some states have floated or enacted.

“Everyday [sic], 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 Tuesday statement. “Government should not require any Texan to show proof of vaccination and reveal private health information just to go about their daily lives.”

The executive order prohibits Texas government agencies and political subdivisions from requiring “vaccine passports” or similar documentation. The order also bans entities receiving public funds from requiring people to show vaccine documentation in order to receive goods or services.

“We will continue to vaccinate more Texans and protect public health — and we will do so without treading on Texans’ personal freedoms,” Abbott said.

Texas has administered more than 12 million COVID-19 vaccines, and adults over the age of 16 are now eligible to be in the state.

Some argue that mandating vaccine passports could speed the re-opening of international travel while others say vaccine documentation that is required in exchange for goods or services raises questions about whether the government, employers and venues have a right to know about a person’s virus status.

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