Texas bans controversial vaccine passports

A patient is wheeled into Houston Methodist Hospital as storm clouds gather over the Texas Medical Center, amid the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Houston, Texas, U.S.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has issued an executive order that bans the government mandated Covid-19 “vaccine passports”.

According to the executive order issued on Tuesday, it prohibits state agencies or political subdivisions in the state from creating a “vaccine passport” requirement, or otherwise conditioning receipt of services on an individual’s Covid-19 vaccination status, reports Xinhua news agency.

The order also prohibits organisations receiving public funds from requiring consumers to provide documentation of vaccine status in order to receive any service or enter any place.

“Everyday, Texans are returning to normal life as more people get the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. But, as I’ve said all along, these vaccines are always voluntary and never forced,” Abbott was quoted as saying in a statement.

“Government should not require any Texan to show proof of vaccination and reveal private health information just to go about their daily lives.

“That is why I have issued an Executive Order that prohibits government-mandated vaccine passports in Texas,” he said.

The executive order came as inoculation credentials, often referred to as vaccine passports, are being developed around the world as a way to quickly prove someone’s immunisation status.

According to a report in The Texas Tribune newspaper, it has become a fierce debate, with Republicans largely opposing the move, saying it is an infringement on individual freedoms and privacy.

Supporters, including a number of private companies, point to the passports as a way to confidently return to activities and ensure safety at workplaces.

New York became the first US state to unveil this measure in its Excelsior Pass, which can be used to quickly show proof of a vaccination or a negative test.

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