Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issues executive order preventing state agencies from requiring vaccine passports

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott prepares to deliver his State of the State speech at Visionary Fiber Technologies outside Lockhart, Texas, on Feb. 1. Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News/TNS

DALLAS — Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Tuesday preventing state agencies from requiring Texans to provide so-called COVID-19 vaccine passports to receive services or enter buildings.

Abbott’s order also applies to political subdivisions and any public or private entity receiving public funds “through any means.” A vaccine passport is a term that has been used to refer to documentation that shows that an individual has been vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.

“As I’ve said all along, these vaccines are always voluntary and never forced,” Abbott said in a written statement. “Government should not require any Texan to show proof of vaccination and reveal private health information just to go about their daily lives.”

Vaccine passports have largely been proposed for international travel, which was devastated during the pandemic. The International Air Transport Association, the trade group for global airlines, and IBM are both in the process of developing versions of a vaccine passport.

Abbott said this week Texas is expected to exceed 13 million COVID-19 shots administered. According to state data, more than 8.1 million Texans have received one dose of the vaccine, while more than 4.6 million are fully vaccinated.

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