Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Monday banning government-issued vaccine “passports” statewide.
Abbott, a Republican, said vaccinations against COVID-19 cannot be government-mandated and that state residents’ choice to not receive one should not prevent them from going about their lives.
“Every day, Texans are returning to normal life as people get the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine,” Abbot said in a public statement Tuesday. “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.”
Abbott added that Texas would continue to vaccinate residents “and protect public health” without “treading on Texans’ personal freedoms.”
The order prevents state agencies from establishing any vaccine passport requirements, “or otherwise conditioning receipt of services on an individual’s COVID-19 vaccination status.”
The ban also extends to any organizations that receive public funds, forbidding those organizations from requiring Texans to prove they received the vaccine.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a similar executive order Friday, becoming the first governor to do so.
Abbott lifted Texas’ statewide mask mandate March 2, eliminating nearly all coronavirus restrictions in place even as some medical experts urged caution. At Globe Life Field in Arlington, over 38,000 fans went to watch the Texas Rangers home opener against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Since the repeal, coronavirus cases and deaths in Texas have significantly decreased.
Texas has fully vaccinated approximately 1 in 6 residents, according to Johns Hopkins University, while almost double have received at least one dose.
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