Arizona has joined a number of states issuing prohibitions against vaccine passports. Gov. Doug Ducey signed an executive order banning the state government and local authorities from requiring people to show proof of vaccination before entering an area or receiving a service. The April 19 order came in light of other Republican-led states such as Florida and Texas mandating similar bans on vaccine passports.
Ducey said in a statement that “the residents of our state should not be required by the government to share their private medical information.” He continued: “While we strongly recommend all Arizonans get the COVID-19 vaccine, it’s not mandated in our state – and it never will be. Vaccination is up to each individual, not the government.”
According to the April 19 executive order, state agencies and local governments are not allowed to require individuals to provide proof of vaccination before “entering a building … or other space” and as a prerequisite for “receiving any service, permit, license or work authorization.” It also applies to businesses receiving funding from the Grand Canyon State contracted to provide services to the general public.
However, Ducey’s order appears to exempt some institutions. Alongside hospitals and care homes, local and state health departments can still ask individuals for their vaccine passports. Educational institutions in Arizona – such as child care centers, schools and universities – can still require proof of vaccination. Moreover, the executive order does not apply to private businesses.
The governor signed the order as almost 2 million Arizona residents had completed their COVID-19 vaccination schedule. “Appointments to get the vaccine will continue to be available to everyone who wants it, especially for the undeserved and vulnerable communities,” Ducey said. He noted that “more than 20,000 vaccination appointments are available” in the Grand Canyon State’s six state-run immunization sites – “including more than 5,000 in Tucson alone.” A seventh immunization site is scheduled to be launched, further bolstering Arizona’s vaccination efforts.
Ducey’s executive order is reminiscent of the vaccine passport ban Texas mandated. According to a Texas Tribune report, Gov. Greg Abbott said on April 6 that his executive order prohibited state agencies, local governments and entities receiving public funding from requiring people to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
In a video announcing the order, the Lone Star State’s governor said: “Texans are returning to normal life as more people get the … COVID-19 vaccine. But as I’ve said all along, these vaccines are always voluntary and never forced.” Like Ducey’s, Abbott’s order aligns with his “always voluntary” public stance regarding immunization.
The Texas governor continued: “Government should not require any Texan to show proof of vaccination and reveal 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. We will continue to vaccinate more Texans and protect public health – and we will do so without treading on Texans’ personal freedoms.” (Related: Gov. Abbott declares no government-mandated “vaccine passports” in Texas.)
However, the fight against vaccine passports began in the Sunshine State. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order on April 2 that mandated a total ban on vaccine passports. Compared to the orders by his fellow GOP governors, DeSantis’s mandate applies to both government agencies and private businesses.
According to the order, “requiring so-called COVID-19 vaccine passports for taking part in everyday life … would create two classes of citizens based on vaccination.” The mandate echoed the Florida governor’s sentiments on compulsory vaccination passports, which he expressed during a March 30 press conference. (Related: Florida governor bans vaccine passports, as they create TWO CLASSES of citizens.)
“It’s completely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to impose upon you the requirement that you show proof of [vaccination] to just simply be able to participate in normal society, he said.” An NPR report added that DeSantis would work with the Florida Legislature to make the vaccine passport ban permanent. However, the same source said the ban would only be specific to COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration.
DeSantis also took jabs at large corporations potentially tasked with handling vaccine passport data. He voiced out privacy concerns during the press conference, saying: “You want the fox to guard the henhouse? Give me a break.”