Which States Have Banned Vaccine Passports? | Best States

As inoculations against COVID-19 continue across the country, more governors and state legislatures are taking action to prevent vaccination from being a requirement to access certain goods and services. The concept, broadly referred to as “vaccine passports,” provides proof of vaccination for activities such as traveling or attending concerts. Americans’ […]

As inoculations against COVID-19 continue across the country, more governors and state legislatures are taking action to prevent vaccination from being a requirement to access certain goods and services.

The concept, broadly referred to as “vaccine passports,” provides proof of vaccination for activities such as traveling or attending concerts. Americans’ level of support for the idea varies by activity, according to a May 7 Gallup survey. A majority of respondents favor mandated vaccination certification for airplane travel (57%) and attendance at crowded events, such as concerts or sports (55%). But a majority of those surveyed also oppose proving inoculation status to go to one’s workplace, stay at a hotel or dine indoors at a restaurant.

Officials in the Joe Biden administration have repeatedly insisted that there aren’t plans for a federal vaccine passport system. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a May 21 press briefing that requiring proof of vaccination is not in the administration’s “intended plan.” Despite that, some governors – mostly Republican – are taking action on vaccine passports.

Here’s where states stand on COVID-19 vaccine passports:

Photos: COVID-19 Vaccinations

Vaccine passports are banned in this state.

Republican Gov. Kay Ivey on May 24 signed a bill that bans businesses and government entities across the state from requiring coronavirus vaccine passports. Among several provisions, the bill states that “an entity or individual doing business in this state may not refuse to provide any goods or services, or refuse to allow admission, to a customer based on the customer’s immunization status or lack of documentation that the customer has received an immunization.” The law limits the requirements to vaccines approved as of Jan. 1, 2021.

Vaccine passports are not required in this state.

Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy on April 26 issued an administrative order clarifying for the public that the state’s “Executive Branch does not, and will not, require any person to produce their personal vaccine history, also referred to as a ‘vaccine Passport,’ in order to travel to, or around, Alaska.” The order also, however, notes that it will not “infringe on the rights of private businesses” and that the Alaska Marine Highway ferry system is still “allowed to inform passengers on long haul trips of the voluntary choice the passenger can make to provide proof of vaccination and avoid the need for a negative test before boarding.”

Vaccine passports are banned in this state.

Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, on April 19 issued an executive order prohibiting state and local government agencies from requiring residents “to provide their COVID-19 vaccination status to receive service or enter an area,” according to a news release. There are some exceptions, including health care institutions. Ducey added in a statement, “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.”

Vaccine passports are banned in this state.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, on April 28 signed into law various measures that prevent state and local governments from requiring proof of vaccination as a condition of employment or to access goods and services, according to The Associated Press. The ban on requirements related to employment has some exceptions, including state-owned medical facilities. The measure related to goods and services access is tied to the concept of vaccine passports.

Vaccine passports are not required in this state.

California Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly said on May 21 that while the state will not require an official vaccine passport for residents when it lifts restrictions on June 15, it will mandate that indoor events with at least 5,000 people verify inoculation or a negative COVID-19 test, according to The Mercury News.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom said on June 11 that California is working on an electronic vaccination verification system for businesses, but also clarified that “there is no mandate, no requirement, no passport,” according to CalMatters.

Vaccine passports are not required in this state.

While there is currently no vaccine passport program in the state, Colorado health department officials said in early April that they were at least exploring the possibility of it, according to The Associated Press. But Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, said that such a program would be unlikely, CPR News reported. “There is no comprehensive way to have a state vaccination passport,” he said, according to the outlet. “It violates people’s privacy. There’s no practical way to implement it.” Legislation was introduced in the state, however, that would have banned discrimination against clients, patrons or customers based on their COVID-19 vaccination status, according to an April 27 memo from the National Conference of State Legislatures. The bill failed to pass.

Vaccine passports are not required in this state.

Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat, has said that he doesn’t see the demand in the state for a vaccine passport system but that programs could be introduced through the private sector, according to The Connecticut Post. “If I had businesses and others saying, ‘Boy it’d really be handy if the state came in and helped made sure some digital platform is in place,’ we’d take a look at it,” the governor said in May, according to the outlet. “I haven’t gotten that request though. I think most businesses are able to do it themselves.”

Vaccine passports are not required in this state.

Democratic Gov. John Carney said during a May 18 coronavirus briefing that, “We’re not going to be in the business of asking people for a so-called vaccine passport,” according to WHYY. The governor also acknowledged that enforcing updated mask-related rules on those who haven’t been vaccinated will be nearly impossible, the outlet reported.

Vaccine passports are banned in this state.

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis was one of the first governors to issue an executive order related to vaccine passports. His action, issued on April 2, ordered that no state government entity be permitted to issue “vaccine passports, vaccine passes or other standardized documentation for the purpose of certifying an individual’s COVID-19 vaccination status to a third party.” The order also prohibits businesses from requiring similar documentation to enter or get services from a business. DeSantis also signed into law a similar bill – as described by the National Conference of State Legislatures – from the state Legislature in early May.

Vaccine passports are banned in this state.

Republican Gov. Brian Kemp on May 25 issued an executive order prohibiting state-operated vaccine passport programs. The order states “that no state agency, provider of state services or state property shall implement a vaccine passport program or otherwise require an individual to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination as a condition to enter the premises of or conduct business with a state agency.” Kemp said in a statement on Twitter that “vaccination is a personal decision between each citizen and a medical professional – not state government.”

Vaccine passports have been implemented in this state.

Starting May 11, fully vaccinated individuals in Hawaii who uploaded their proof of vaccination to the state’s “Safe Travels” system were allowed to travel inter-county without pre-travel testing and quarantine restrictions. Gov. David Ige, a Democrat, said in late May that he is targeting July 4 for allowing vaccinated out-of-state travelers to come to Hawaii and bypass restrictions through a similar system, according to Forbes. Ige later announced in a June 4 news conference that starting on June 15, the state will expand its passport program to trans-Pacific travelers who have been vaccinated in Hawaii, according to Hawaii News Now.

Vaccine passports are banned in this state.

Republican Gov. Brad Little on April 7 issued an executive order prohibiting government agencies from producing COVID-19 vaccine passports or requiring such proof as a condition of accessing state services. Within the order, Little said that the state mandating the vaccine or issuing vaccine passports is contrary to his “core values as an Idahoan and conservative.”

Vaccine passports are not required in this state.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said April 30 that the state will not create a way for residents to show they have been vaccinated. Pritzker, a Democrat, did note that for those who want a way to show their vaccination status, the state may “look for some way to have an electronic measure available,” according to NBC Chicago.

Vaccine passports are banned in this state.

House Bill 1405, signed into law by Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb on April 29, prohibits “the state or a local unit from issuing or requiring a COVID-19 ‘immunization passport.'” There has since been some confusion over how it applies to state universities, according to FOX-59.

Vaccine passports are banned in this state.

Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican, on May 20 approved a bill that prohibits businesses and government entities from requiring people to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 in order to enter their premises, and notes that state grants and contracts “shall not be awarded to or renewed” with entities that violate this provision. The law also prohibits government agencies from issuing identification cards that include COVID-19 vaccination status. Reynolds signed the legislation about six weeks after publicly saying she intended to “take a stand” against the use of the so-called vaccine passports, according to the Des Moines Register.

Vaccine passports are not required in this state.

The Kansas Legislature in May passed a budget that includes language banning vaccine passports from being a requirement for entering a state government building or receiving related services, according to KAKE. Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, said previously that she has “no interest” in the state issuing vaccine passports, according to the AP.

Vaccine passports are not required in this state.

Vaccine passports are not required in this state.

Louisiana lawmakers have been advancing a bill that takes aim at vaccine passports, even though state officials have not indicated plans for any vaccine requirement, according to the AP. The bill is pending and would prohibit requirements such as having proof of vaccination on driver’s licenses.

Vaccine passports are not required in this state.

Vaccine passports are not required in this state.

Vaccine passports are not required in this state.

While no bans have been passed in Massachusetts, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s response to an April question about whether state officials were planning to roll out a COVID-19 vaccine passport was simple, according to The Boston Globe: “No, no, no.”

Vaccine passports are not required in this state.

Vaccine passports are not required in this state.

Democratic Gov. Tim Walz said in April that he has “no intention of doing vaccine passports,” according to KSTP. The state Legislature put forth a bill that would prohibit government entities or businesses from requiring proof of vaccination in order to enter a building open to the general public, according to the NCSL, but it is pending.

Vaccine passports are not required in this state.

Republican Gov. Tate Reeves said during an April appearance on CNN that he doesn’t think vaccine passports are necessary or “a good thing to do in America,” according to the Clarion Ledger. A failed bill in the Mississippi Legislature would have prohibited public and private employers from requiring a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the NCSL.

Vaccine passports are not required in this state.

Two separate bills that would have prohibited COVID-19 vaccination requirements have not passed in the Missouri Legislature, according to the NCSL. But Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, on June 15 signed into law a more recent piece of legislation that bans requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination to access public transportation or other services, according to the Springfield News-Leader.

Vaccine passports are banned in this state.

Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte on April 13 issued an executive order banning the development or use of vaccine passports, according to the AP. The governor said in a statement that receiving the COVID-19 vaccine “is entirely voluntary and will not be mandated by the state of Montana, nor compelled through vaccine passports, vaccine passes, or other compulsory means.”

Vaccine passports are not required in this state.

While no ban has been passed in Nebraska, Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts issued a statement on March 31 clarifying that the state “will not participate in any vaccine passport program,” while adding that such a system violates “freedom of movement and healthcare privacy.”

Vaccine passports are not required in this state.

Vaccine passports are not required in this state.

Vaccine passports are not required in this state.

New Jersey Republican State Sen. Michael Testa proposed a bill in late April that would prohibit the state from requiring businesses to make customers prove they have been vaccinated against COVID-19, according to WHYY. Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, said during a news conference that while he has “been open-minded to” the concept of vaccine passports, he also worries “about the inequities that [vaccine passports] brings, frankly,” the outlet also reported.

Vaccine passports are not required in this state.

Vaccine passports have been implemented in this state.

Vaccine passports are not required in this state.

Concerned that Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper might require a vaccine passport in North Carolina, a group of Republican lawmakers sent a letter to him in April saying such a requirement would be a violation of residents’ constitutional rights, according to WFAE.

Vaccine passports are banned in this state.

North Dakota enacted a law that puts a limited ban on vaccine passports in the state after other failed attempts by its Legislature, according to The Bismarck Times. The law bans state and local governments from requiring inoculation proof documents and prohibits businesses – with some exceptions – from requiring vaccination documents of customers and patrons for access, entry or services, the outlet reported. The Legislature also passed a resolution “urging Congress to refrain from issuing a vaccine passport.”

Vaccine passports are not required in this state.

Ohio Health Director Stephanie McCloud said on May 17 that the state is not considering a digital vaccine verification system, according to Spectrum News.

Vaccine passports are not required in this state. On May 28, Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill into law prohibiting schools from requiring COVID-19 vaccines for students, requiring vaccine passports, or imposing mask mandates on unvaccinated students.

Vaccine passports are not required in this state.

The Oregon Department of Consumer & Business Services said in a May 19 statement, in response to the state Health Authority’s new guidelines for fully vaccinated people, that if an “employer chooses to allow either employees or visitors to the workplace to make use of the vaccine exemption, the employer does not need to enforce the physical distancing and facial covering requirements in relation to those individuals provided that the employer verifies the vaccination status of such individuals.”

The statement also notes that “if an individual who claims to be vaccinated but refuses to provide verification of vaccination status, the employer need take no further action but must enforce the physical distancing and facial covering requirements without regard to the exemption.”

A conservative group called the Freedom Foundation said in a May 26 news release that it is prepared to “fight (Democratic Gov. Kate Brown) in court over this ludicrous vaccine passport” system. Following the backlash against the state’s vaccine status check rules, Senate Republicans introduced a bill on June 3 to ban vaccine passports in Oregon, according to KDRV.

Vaccine passports are not required in this state.

State Senate Republicans in Pennsylvania in late May were advancing a bill that would ban governments and school districts – but not private businesses – from requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination for access to services or to enter buildings, according to the AP. The Senate passed the bill on June 9 and it is now over to Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, according to WCED.

Vaccine passports are not required in this state.

Led by Rhode Island state Rep. David Place, a Republican, lawmakers introduced legislation that would prohibit any proof of vaccine requirement to enter a public building, private business college or university, according to WJAR. The bill was “held for further study” in early April.

Vaccine passports are banned in this state.

Vaccine passports are banned in this state.

Republican Gov. Kristi Noem on April 21 issued an executive order banning the development or use of COVID-19 vaccine passports in South Dakota, according to the AP. Noem said in a statement, “We are not going to restrict South Dakotans’ exercise of their freedoms with un-American policies like vaccine passports.”

Vaccine passports are not required in this state.

The Tennessee Senate passed a bill in April that would ban government-issued vaccine passports, according to WZTV. Before that, Republican Gov. Bill Lee said on April 6 that he thinks “vaccine passports are a bad idea,” according to the AP.

Vaccine passports are banned in this state.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott on April 6 issued an executive order banning state agencies or political subdivisions in the state from creating a vaccine passport requirement. The order also “prohibits organizations receiving public funds from requiring consumers to provide documentation of vaccine status in order to receive any service or enter any place.” On June 7, Abbott signed a bill that extends the ban to private businesses, saying on Twitter that the law would prohibit “any business operating in Texas from requiring vaccine passports or any vaccine information.”

Vaccine passports are partially banned in this state.

A bill signed into law by Republican Gov. Spencer Cox prohibits the Utah state government from requiring people to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but private companies are not forbidden from doing so, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

Vaccine passports are not required in this state.

While a bill was introduced in the Vermont General Assembly that would have prohibited the use of COVID-19 vaccine passports in the state, the legislation did not advance.

Vaccine passports are not required in this state.

Vaccine passports are not required in this state.

While such passports are not required in Washington, new workplace guidelines released by the Washington Department of Labor & Industries on May 21 note that fully vaccinated employees do not have to wear a mask or socially distance as long as they “either sign a document attesting to their status or provide proof of vaccination.”

Vaccine passports are not required in this state.

Vaccine passports are not required in this state.

A Wisconsin Legislature bill would have prohibited “employers from requiring an employee or prospective employee to receive a COVID-19 vaccine or show proof of having received such a vaccine,” according to the NCSL, but it has not advanced.

Vaccine passports are banned in this state.

Republican Gov. Mark Gordon on May 7 issued a directive prohibiting “state agencies, boards and commissions from requiring ‘vaccine passports’ to access state spaces and state services.” The governor said in a statement that such programs “have the potential to politicize a decision that should not be politicized.”

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