AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott used his executive power Tuesday to ban state government and some private entities from requiring COVID-19 “vaccine passports” to access services, in the latest move from a Republican governor pitting public health campaigns against personal freedom and private choices.
According to Abbott’s order, state agencies and political subdivisions, and public and private organizations that receive public funding in Texas cannot require people to show proof that they have been inoculated against the coronavirus.
The mandate also states that it will supersede any conflicting local executive orders and calls for the Texas Legislature to take up COVID-19 vaccine requirements during its ongoing current session.
“We will continue to vaccinate more Texans and protect public health – and we will do so without treading on Texans’ personal freedoms,” Abbott said in a statement announcing the order.
Abbott said the U.S. Constitution does not empower the federal government to mandate proof of vaccination. The White House has ruled out a national “vaccine passport,” saying it is leaving it to the private sector to develop a system for people show they’ve been vaccinated. The Biden administration is developing guidelines for such passports, touching on privacy, accuracy and equity.
Some other countries are establishing national databases to allow vaccinated people to resume normal activities. The White House says it won’t back such a system in the U.S.
In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a similar executive order Friday, banning businesses from requiring customers to show proof they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to get service and barred any government agency in Florida from issuing such documentation for the purpose of providing proof of vaccinations.
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