Gov. Greg Gianforte Bans Vaccine Passports for Montana

Gov. Greg Gianforte Bans Vaccine Passports for Montana
REVIV USA West Coast Operations Manager Kari Armamento uses a cell phone and an iPad to demonstrate the HELIIX Health Passport at REVIV at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nev., on April 7, 2021. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte has issued an executive order banning the development or use of vaccine passports in Montana.

Vaccine passports are documents that could be used to verify COVID-19 immunization status and allow inoculated people to more freely travel, shop, and dine.

The move by Gianforte on Tuesday comes as vaccine passports have drawn criticism as a heavy-handed intrusion into personal freedom and private health choices.

Gianforte says in a statement that he encourages all Montana residents to get vaccinated but that it is “entirely voluntary.”

Vaccine passports have been implemented in New York but the White House has said there will not be any federal vaccine passport program.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed an executive order earlier this month that would bar state agencies or entities that receive public funds from requiring a person to show a vaccine passport in order to receive goods or services, or to enter a building.
“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 April 6. “Those shots help slow the spread of COVID, reduce hospitalizations, and reduce fatalities.”

The Republican governor said the order exempts nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

Abbott's move followed a similar order issued by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, also a Republican, who cited privacy concerns as a reason for doing so.

Jack Phillips and The Associated Press contributed to this report