Republican Idaho Governor Brad Little banned “vaccine passports” for COVID-19 on Wednesday, while Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, also a Republican, signaled that her state could soon follow suit.
Little was third GOP governor to ban the so-called passports at the state level. Last Friday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis became the first to block the passports, with Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordering a ban on Monday. President Joe Biden has made it clear that the federal government has no plans to issue or endorse vaccine passports, although some states and private industries have moved towards adopting them.
“Idahoans should be given the choice to receive the vaccine,” Little said in a statement. “We should not violate Idahoans’ personal freedoms by requiring them to receive it. Vaccine passports create different classes of citizens.”
“Vaccine passports restrict the free flow of commerce during a time when life and the economy are returning to normal,” he added. “Vaccine passports threaten individual freedom and patient privacy.”
Reynolds indicated that she could become the fourth Republican governor to issue an executive order banning the passports during a news conference on Wednesday. Utah Governor Spencer Cox signed a bill that bans the state government from using the passports last month, although it does not apply to private businesses, unlike the orders from DeSantis, Abbott and Little.
“While I believe in the efficacy of the vaccine enough to get it myself, and encourage Iowans to do the same, I also respect that it is a personal choice,” Reynolds said. “I strongly oppose vaccine passports and I believe that we must take a stand as a state against them, which I intend to do either through legislation or executive action.”
Little’s executive order states that “New York is promoting a software program that will facilitate the exclusion of Americans who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine from receiving services and fully participating in public life.”
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