Over the past two weeks, there have been increased rumblings coming out of Washington D.C. that the possibility of a type of “vaccine passport” will eventually be issued to American citizens who’ve received the COVID-19 vaccination, in order for them to quickly prove that they’ve been inoculated.
According to The Hill, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ended any confusion about how the Lone Star state will handle the situation, making it clear on Monday that residents of his state will not be required to obtain vaccine passports or any type of tracked credential, as he believes any such move would be a clear violation of privacy.
Abbott’s decision came in the wake of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announcing that businesses in his state would not be allowed to require Floridians to show vaccination credentials in order to go on about their daily lives.
Abbott takes a stand
The Texas governor, a staunch defender of freedom for the residents of his state, shredded the idea that at some point, American citizens will possibly be required to show proof of receiving a vaccination in order to do their daily business.
“Government should not require any Texan to show proof of vaccination and reveal private health information just to go about their daily lives,” Abbot said on Monday.
“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 governor added.
The move comes on the heels of controversy from the beginning of March when Abbott was one of the first governors to announce that not only was the statewide mask mandate to immediately end but that the state would open up to 100% capacity.
To be clear, Abbott isn’t anti-vaccine, as he made that clear in his statement, saying that the COVID-19 vaccines “are always voluntary and never forced,” adding that he believes as more people receive the vaccine, the closer Texas will get to return to some sense of normalcy.
White House retreats
In a surprise announcement on Tuesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki walked back the idea that President Joe Biden’s administration would be involved in a vaccination passport system, which was completely different messaging from just a week prior.
“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 at a press briefing, according to The Hill.
.@PressSec Jen Psaki on possibility of the federal government supporting vaccine passports: “The government is not now, nor will we be supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential.”
— CSPAN (@cspan) April 6, 2021
The White House’s current stance is that they’ll let private industry determine whether or not some type of vaccine passport will be required for customers to do business, although with Abbott and DeSantis — and possibly more — governors ruling that out completely, large corporations will likely face monumental challenges should they decide to require the credentials.