In a video announcement, Abbott stated, “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.”
“Government should not require any Texan to show proof of vaccination and reveal private health information just to go about their daily lives.”
In addition to government entities, Abbott’s order also precludes any public or private institution which benefits from public funding from mandating vaccination documentation as a condition of that funding’s issuance.
“No consumer may be denied entry,” the order reads, “to a facility financed in whole or in part by public funds for failure to provide documentation regarding the consumer’s vaccination status for any COVID-19 vaccine administered under an emergency use authorization.”
However, the order specifically excludes nursing homes or other similar long-term care facilities from that ban. Those facilities do not have to adopt such requirements, but can if they so choose.
Private businesses are not mentioned in the order.
The idea of “vaccine passports” has been floated by some as a way to incentivize vaccinations and return to normalcy.
That proposition, of course, has been an argument by some for a while now even before the “show your papers” aspect developed. There is argument by some on the political left that individuals should have to show proof of their vaccination to travel throughout, or outside, the country. In fact, some European countries have already gone this route.
But some American officials, now Governor Abbott included amongst them, have criticized the practice for its privacy violations and restriction on the free movement of peoples.
Abbott added, “We will continue to vaccinate more Texans and protect public health — and we will do so without treading on Texans’ personal freedoms.”
The governor’s order comes a few days after his Florida counterpart, Gov. Ron DeSantis, banned vaccine passport mandates for all governments and businesses in his state.
Both presidential hopefuls, the last couple of months have seen the pair in a coronavirus policy waltz.
Texas has administered over 12 million vaccine doses and opened their availability to everyone over the age of 16 at the end of March.
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Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.