Gov. Abbott bans Texas agencies, state-funded groups from requiring ‘vaccine passports’

AUSTIN, Texas — Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday banned state agencies, political subdivisions or organizations receiving public funds from creating “vaccine passports” or otherwise requiring proof of a Covid-19 vaccine in order to receive services.

This comes as vaccine credentials, often referred to as vaccine passports, are being developed around the world as a way to quickly prove someone’s vaccination status, particularly with private companies. It has become a fierce debate, with Republicans largely opposing the move, saying it is an infringement on individual freedoms and privacy. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis also prohibited state agencies from using vaccine passports and businesses from requiring their customers to display one.

Businesses can require their employees to get a Covid-19 vaccine, according to guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

“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 announcing the executive order.

“Government should not require any Texan to show proof of vaccination and reveal 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,” he said.

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