Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order on Tuesday prohibiting state agencies or political subdivisions in the state from creating a vaccine passport requirement, or otherwise conditioning receipt of services on an individual’s COVID-19 vaccination status.
“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,” Governor Abbott wrote in an official 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 order also prohibits organizations receiving public funds from requiring consumers to provide documentation of vaccine status in order to receive any service or enter any place. The announcement follows reports that the Biden administration is coordinating initiatives with private companies to develop a vaccine passport system that would allow people to access businesses, offices and restaurants.
Abbott joins Florida GOP Gov. Rick DeSantis who announced a similar executive order Friday banning the use of COVID-19 vaccine passports in his state.
“We always said we wanted to provide it for all but mandate it for none,” DeSantis said. “And that was something that, while it was advised to take particularly if you’re vulnerable, we were not going to force you to do it.” Republicans remain largely opposed the move, denouncing it as an infringement on individual freedoms and privacy.
According to recent figures, Texas has vaccinated 13 million of its 29 million citizens. “We will continue to vaccinate more Texans and protect public health and we will do so without treading on Texans’ personal freedoms,” Abbott concluded.