Greg Abbott restricts use of ‘vaccine passports’ via executive order

On Tuesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued an executive order restricting the use of COVID-19 “vaccine passports,” as many Republicans rally against the concept, which allows individuals to provide proof of having received a COVID-19 vaccine.

“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,” Abbott said in a video statement on Tuesday.

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“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 added. “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.”

The executive order prohibits state agencies, political subdivisions, and organizations who receive taxpayer money from creating “vaccine passports” or mandating individuals to present evidence of COVID-19 vaccination in order to receive goods and services.

Another Republican governor, Ron DeSantis of Florida, last week signed an executive order banning the use of vaccine passports. He went a step further than Abbott and also prevented businesses from requiring customers to provide proof of having received a COVID-19 vaccine.

RELATED: DeSantis signs executive order prohibiting vaccine passports

Many Republicans have expressed data, privacy, and civil liberties concerns with the adoption of vaccine passports. Proponents, on the other hand, argue that the measure will allow the reopening of the U.S. economy to speed up, as well as international travel.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert and President Joe Biden’s top COVID-19 adviser, in a Monday interview with the Politico Dispatch podcast that he doubts “the federal government will be the main mover of a vaccine passport concept.”

RELATED: Fauci: Federal government won’t mandate vaccine passports

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.