Gov. Abbott bans ‘vaccine passports’ for state agencies, organizations that get state funding

Apr 6, 2021 by

DeSantis Vaccine passport ban could delay cruise industry reopening

4.6.21 – Austin American-Statesman

“Gov. Abbott bans ‘vaccine passports’ for state agencies, organizations that get state funding”

By Nicole Cobler

Excerpts from this article:

Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday banned leaders of state agencies and other state-funded entities from requiring “vaccine passports,” joining a growing number of Republican leaders who have pushed back on the idea of showing proof of vaccination for services.

“The 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 video released early Tuesday morning. “We will continue to vaccinate more Texans and protect public health, and we will do so without treading on Texans’ personal freedom.”

Abbott’s executive order does not entirely address private businesses using a vaccine passport system, although it applies to private entities receiving public funds “through any means.” The order also bans state agencies or political subdivisions in Texas from creating the passport requirement or “otherwise conditioning receipt of services on an individual’s COVID-19 vaccination status.”

Vaccine passports or credentials have gained momentum among private companies as a way to ask for proof of the COVID-19 vaccine as part of reopening. Other countries are working to create their own passports for travel. 

The White House has begun working with private companies to develop a standard way of handling the credentials, part of President Joe Biden’s push to regain normalcy this summerthe Washington Post reported last week.

…Vaccination credentials have gained the most resistance from Republican lawmakers, whose base is more likely than other groups to refuse to get a vaccine.

About 45% of white evangelical adults in the U.S. have said they would not get vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a late February poll from Pew Research Center

In his executive order, Abbott urged the Texas Legislature to address the issue this session.

…Abbott’s order comes days after state Rep. James White, R-Hillister, requested an opinion from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on whether government facilities could require vaccine passports.

…A negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination is “strongly encouraged” but not required to enter the Texas Capitol complex, according to the State Preservation Board.

The Senate requires a negative test, conducted in a tent outside the Capitol’s north entrance, before anybody can walk onto the Senate floor, sit in the overhead gallery or enter a Senate committee room for a hearing.

Meanwhile, University of Texas spokesman J.B. Bird said the university does not require vaccinations among faculty, students or staff and does not have plans to do so in the future…

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