Possibly one of the most controversial issues to follow on the heels of Covid vaccinations has been the Vaccine Passport controversy. It has divided the country and states are passing legislation that is very much party political, with Republican-led states at the forefront of those banning or limiting the passports, but Democrats are hot on their heels.
Here then, alphabetically and divided into four sections, is an update on which states are viewing the vaccine passport as a helpful tool, whose on the fence, whose limiting the passport’s use, and which states are simply banning it outright. We’ll start with the pro-states or those who are in favor of the passport. Data provided with thanks by Beckers Hospital Review.
States endorsing vaccine passports
- Hawaii Gov. David Ige said on April 5 that the state is testing the tech needed to support a vaccine passport, but that it won’t be ready for another four weeks or so, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. On April 20, Mr. Ige tweeted that the state will launch a vaccination verification program on May 11 to support inter-county travel.
- New Jersey does not plan to launch a statewide vaccine passport system, but Gov. Phil Murphy said he is open to the idea if the state follows federal guidelines, MIT Technology Review reported.
- In March, New York became the first state to launch a COVID-19 vaccine passport, dubbed Excelsior Pass. The digital platform is free and voluntary for New Yorkers to confirm recent negative PCR or antigen test results as well as proof of vaccination.
- West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has not prohibited proof-of-vaccination requirements at any level of government, MIT Technology Review reported.
States limiting vaccine passports
- Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order on April 19 to prohibit all state and local governments from requiring people to prove their COVID-19 vaccination status to receive services or enter an area. The ban however does not apply to private businesses and healthcare institutions.
- California is not pursuing a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine passport requirement but will work with the private sector to monitor the development of any passports mandated for businesses such as sports teams or event venues, Los Angeles Magazine reported April 26.
- Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he thinks a vaccination app would be useful but should not be mandatory to enter any event or facilities, stressing that the tech would be offered as a personal choice, according to a March 24 Center Square report.
States on the fence on vaccine passports
- Colorado does not require vaccine passports, but state health department officials in April said they may explore adopting the concept, MIT Technology Review reported.
- Connecticut is still up in the air regarding mandatory COVID-19 vaccine passports, despite Gov. Ned Lamont’s claims that the state would begin conversations on the topic once vaccinations open to everyone. Vaccination eligibility opened to all residents 16 and older on April 1. In March, Mr. Lamont said he does expect “some type of passport or validation … probably led by the private sector, according to a May 5 Yale Daily News report.
- Louisiana has not yet decided on any vaccine passport programs in the state, with Gov. John Bel Edwards referring to it being “a little early in the process to know how these kinds of vaccine verifications would actually work,” according to an April 7 local NBC affiliate WDSU report.
- North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper at the end of March said his administration is exploring the development of a vaccine passport for residents, according to an April 21 North State Journal report.
- Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee in May said he would leave it up to business owners and employers to choose masking and vaccination requirements for their businesses, MIT Technology Review reported.
States banning vaccine passports
- Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed a bill on May 24 that prevents state government entities from issuing vaccine passports and blocks businesses from requiring such documentation in exchange for services, CNN reported.
- Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy issued an executive order preventing the state’s government from requiring vaccine passports for travel, MIT Technology Review reported.
- Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed off on a law that prevents state and local governments from requiring COVID-19 vaccine or proof of vaccination in order to receive services, MIT Technology Review reported.
- Delaware Gov. John Carney said the state will not pursue vaccine passports, MIT Technology Review reported.
- On April 2, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order prohibiting the use of COVID-19 vaccine passports in the state, citing privacy concerns and freedom as the main reasons for the ban.
- Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp tweeted his opposition April 6 to “any kind of state-mandated” vaccine passport, writing that “While the development of multiple safe, highly effective COVID-19 vaccines has been a scientific miracle, the decision to receive the vaccine should be left up to each individual.”
- Idaho banned any state and government entities from requiring vaccine passports for residents to receive public services or access facilities, Gov. Brad Little said in an April 7 statement.
- Indiana enacted a law that prevents state and local government units from creating or mandating a vaccination card or passport, according to a May 24 Fox 59 report.
- Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds pledged on April 7 that the state will oppose vaccine passports legislatively or on an executive level as she believes the tech violates personal choice, privacy and HIPAA, according to local CBS affiliate KMTV.
- Kansas lawmakers on May 8 approved a proposal that includes a ban on vaccine passports, but the legislation has not yet been enacted, MIT Technology Review reported.
- Kentucky does not require vaccine passports, but Rep. Brandon Reed is writing a bill that would ban the government from enforcing them, MIT Technology Review reported.
- Maine is not planning on creating a statewide vaccine passport system, but residents are encouraged to carry their immunization card if they need it, MIT Technology Reviewreported.
- Maryland does not require vaccine passports and currently does not have legislation addressing them, MIT Technology Review reported.
- Massachusetts has not banned the use of vaccine passports, but Gov. Charlie Baker said in April that he opposes the technology, MIT Technology Review reported.
- Michigan’s House of Representatives passed a bill on June 2 banning vaccine passports, MIT Technology Review reported.
- Minnesota’s Senate passed a bill in May that prevents people from being required to “possess, wear or display any indicator” that they received a specific test result or have antibodies for communicable diseases, MIT Technology Review reported.
- Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves in April said he doesn’t support vaccine passports, and the state is not pursuing the technology, MIT Technology Review reported.
- Missouri’s House and Senate approved a bill in May that bans vaccine passports, but Gov. Mike Parson has not yet approved or vetoed the legislation, MIT Technology Review reported.
- Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte issued an executive order on April 13 prohibiting the use of vaccine passports, he announced on Twitter.
- Nebraska will not participate in any vaccine passport initiatives, Gov. Pete Ricketts announced March 31, claiming the tech is a violation of “two central tenets of the American system: freedom of movement and healthcare privacy.”
- Nevada has not banned the use of vaccine passports, but they are not required within the state, MIT Technology Review reported.
- New Hampshire currently is not developing or requiring vaccine passports, MIT Technology Review reported.
- New Mexico does not have any vaccine passport requirements and has no plans to develop a system, MIT Technology Review reported.
- North Dakota lawmakers passed a limited ban on vaccine passports in April; the ban prevents state and local governments from requiring proof documents and prevents businesses from requiring vaccination documents for access, entry or services, MIT Technology Review reported.
- Ohio Health Director Stephanie McCloud on May 17 told Spectrum News that the state will not implement digital vaccine passports. She said Ohio is not working with any private individuals on any type of passport whatsoever, including digital.
- Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt issued an executive order on May 28 banning state agencies from requiring vaccinations as a condition of entry to public facilities, MIT Technology Review reported.
- Oregon does not require vaccine passports, MIT Technology Review reported.
- Pennsylvania senators on May 6 introduced legislation that would ban the state from requiring COVID-19 vaccine passports, Fox 43 reports. Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration has previously said it would not require vaccine passports.
- South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued a COVID-19 mandate on May 11 that bans the use of vaccine passports across the state and prevents schools and governments from creating mask mandates, according to NPR.
- South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem issued an executive order in April banning the use or development of vaccine passports, MIT Technology Review reported.
- Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee also took to Twitter on April 6 to vocalize his opposition of the tech, writing that he believes the “COVID-19 vaccine should be a personal health choice, not a government requirement.”
- Texas also instituted a ban on COVID-19 passports on April 5, which prevents the state and some businesses from requiring passports of customers to prove they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
- Utah passed a law in April that blocks the state government from requiring people to get the COVID-19 vaccine and use vaccine passports, according to an April 6 Salt Lake Tribune report.
- Vermont’s House of Representatives introduced a bill to ban vaccine passports in May, MIT Technology Review reported.
- Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam in May said he has no plans to use vaccine passports in the state, MIT Technology Review reported.
- Washington state Rep. Jim Walsh drafted legislation in April to prohibit vaccine passports, MIT Technology Review reported.
- Wisconsin has not banned the use of vaccine passports, but a series of bills were introduced in April to prohibit the use of the technology, MIT Technology Review reported.
- Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon barred state officials from requiring residents to have COVID-19 vaccine passports, according to a May 9 Buckrail report.