It bans “the mandatory disclosure of whether a person has received a vaccination for COVID-19, disqualifying certain entities from receiving state grants or contracts,” excluding health care facilities.
Local governments would also be prohibited from mandating that residents have their vaccination status on their identification cards.
Vaccine passport systems have come under fire in recent weeks, with several Republican governors—including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis—issuing orders to block such systems from being implemented in their respective states. Some civil liberties proponents have speculated that a passport system would divide society into two distinct classes of people: those who are vaccinated and those who are not.
The vaccine passports are typically an app with a code that verifies whether someone has received the jab or recently tested negative for COVID-19. Versions of the passport are in use in Israel and are in development in parts of Europe, and are seen by some proponents as a way to safely help rebuild the pandemic-devastated travel industry.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in late March also voiced concern about such proposals, saying that it would likely violate Americans’ privacy—namely if there is a centralized, digitized system. The group noted that individuals who do not have a smartphone with an app that shows they are vaccinated could be excluded from certain services.
So far, no federal agency has mandated a vaccine passport-type system, although New York state recently rolled out its “Excelsior” app that would allow individuals to enter sports arenas, events, and more if those facilities use it. The app, however, is not mandated by any state law.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki signaled last month that the Biden administration will not be supporting or developing CCP virus vaccine passports.
“The government is not now, nor will we be supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential. There will be no federal vaccinations database and no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential,” Psaki said during a White House press conference.
Iowa governor Reynolds said last month that she strongly opposed vaccine passports.