Texas Governor Greg Abbott issues executive order banning Biden's vaccine passports

Florida has already banned the pandemic-induced credential system

Graig Graziosi
Tuesday 06 April 2021 17:04 BST
Florida governor Ron de Santis to block vaccine passports
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Texas Governor Greg Abbott has passed an executive order banning Joe Biden's proposed "vaccine passports".

The proposed passports are meant to provide credentials for individuals who have already been vaccinated, making it easier for private entities like cruise lines, airports, or sporting and music venues to re-open safely.

"Texans shouldn't be required to show proof of vaccination and reveal private health information just to go about their daily lives," Mr Abbott tweeted, along with a video. "I issued an Executive Order that prohibits government-mandated vaccine passports in Texas. Don't tread on our personal freedoms."

Texas is the nation's most populous state. According to data provided by the governor, the state has vaccinated 13 million of its 29 million citizens.

Last week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, also a Republican, issued a similar executive order banning the use of vaccine passports.

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"It's completely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to impose upon you the requirement that you show proof of vaccine to just simply be able to participate in normal society," Mr DeSantis said in a press conference.

His ban also prevented private or state-run entities from barring workers or customers who were not vaccinated.

"Requiring so-called Covid-19 vaccine passports for taking part in everyday life – such as attending a sporting event, patronising a restaurant, or going to a movie theatre – would create two classes," he said.

Unlike the existing class system in the US that is maintained and bolstered by lawmakers and corporate power holders, the inequality caused by the vaccine passport system is meant to be temporary.

While Mr Abbott and Mr DeSantis oppose the idea of a vaccine passport on the grounds that it throttles personal freedoms – even if it does so for the purposes of ending the pandemic – their fellow Republican US Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene rejects the idea based on loosely interpreted Biblical prophesy.

Ms Greene called the vaccine passports "Biden's mark of the beast," a reference to a passage in the Book of Revelation in which one of the beasts of revelation "forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name."

Because the vaccine passport would potentially limit those without one from buying services from certain businesses, Ms Greene apparently has drawn the conclusion that it is a signifier of the end times.

Reactionary Christians have likened barcodes, credit cards, and medical microchips to the mark of the beast in the past.

Ms Greene has called for Georgia Governor Brian Kemp to join Texas and Florida in banning the passports.

Despite the fear and objections of conservatives, the idea for a vaccine passport is not Mr Biden's; there are at least 17 passport initiatives being developed in the US by private and public groups, and numerous others throughout the world, including one helmed by the World Health Organization.

New York state was the first to introduce a kind of vaccine passport – called the Excelsior Pass – which is used via a smartphone app.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Fox News he could not see the federal government forcing the passport program on states, but that there could be requirements in local governments.

"I don’t think you’re gonna see a federal government mandate about that, it might be on the local level though," he said.

He also recognised that privacy concerns would provide a major hurdle for any proposed vaccine passport project.

"From the standpoint of practicality, there is merit to that," Dr Fauci said. "There are a lot of concerns and objections about discrimination for people who don’t, or big brother looking over you and giving you the right or not to enter into a theatre or restaurant, it’s a very controversial issue right now."

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