Idaho became the fourth state to ban requiring proof of vaccination before residents can use certain public services or goods Wednesday.
GOP Gov. Brad Little signed an executive order prohibiting so-called “vaccine passport” laws, following the leads of Florida, Texas, and Utah. Little’s order also comes after the state of New York began pushing an app for people to prove their vaccination status in February.
“Idahoans should be given the choice to receive the vaccine. We should not violate Idahoans’ personal freedoms by requiring them to receive it,” Little said in a statement. “Vaccine passports create different classes of citizens. Vaccine passports restrict the free flow of commerce during a time when life and the economy are returning to normal. Vaccine passports threaten individual freedom and patient privacy.”
“I have serious concerns that implementing COVID-19 vaccine passports will violate Idahoans’ [medical] privacy rights, prejudice those unable to receive the vaccine, slow our economic recovery, cause division among our populace and, ultimately, be counterproductive to the widespread administration of the COVID-19 vaccines among Idahoans,” Little continued, voicing concerns that have been echoed by other Republican lawmakers.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced an executive order banning mandatory vaccine passports on Tuesday, prohibiting all state and federal government agencies and all private entities receiving state funds from requiring proof of vaccination before serving someone.
“Every day, Texans return to normalcy as more people get the COVID vaccine. In fact, this week, Texas will surpass 13 million doses administered,” Abbott said in a Tuesday video announcement. “Those shots help slow the spread of COVID, reduce hospitalizations, and reduce fatalities.”
“But, as I have 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,” the governor continued. “That is why I 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.”
Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a similar order last week.
“It’s completely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to impose upon you the requirement that you show proof of vaccine to just simply participate in normal society,” DeSantis said. “You want to go to a movie theater, should you have to show that? No. You want to go to a game, a theme park? No. So we’re not supportive of that.”
“We always said we wanted to provide it for all but mandate it for none,” he continued. “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.”
“You’re going to do this and, what, give all this information to some big corporation? You want the fox to guard the hen house? I mean give me a break,” the governor said. “I think this is something that has huge privacy implications. It is not necessary to do.”