Georgia Governor Bans State COVID Vaccine Passports

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Georgia Govenor Brian Kemp (Chris Aluka Berry/Reuters)

Georgia governor Brian Kemp signed an executive order Tuesday banning the state government from requiring COVID vaccine passports or assisting private establishments that seek to mandate them, the governor’s office said.

“Today’s executive order makes clear that vaccine passports will not be utilized in state government,” the Republican governor said in a written statement.

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The executive order, titled “Prohibition of Covid-19 Vaccine Passports,” stipulates that individuals will not need to show proof of vaccination via a passport to enter the state of Georgia. It also specifies that employers in the state should not have different policies for employees contingent on vaccination status, such as identifying badges.

Kemp is one of a number of Republican governors, such as Florida governor Ron DeSantis and South Dakota governor Kristi Noem, to outlaw COVID passports in their states over medical-privacy concerns for the individual as the Biden administration encourages mass vaccination among most age groups. Kemp’s action came in the form of an executive order while DeSantis’ version for Florida passed in the state legislature and was enacted into law.

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In New York, however, the vaccine passport is gaining traction and already being distributed to residents.

“While I continue to urge all Georgians to get vaccinated so we continue our momentum in putting the COVID-19 pandemic in the rearview, vaccination is a personal decision between each citizen and a medical professional — not state government. This order also clearly states that data held by the Georgia Department of Public Health and their immunization system will not be used by any public or private entity for a vaccine passport program,” Kemp said in the statement.

In a tweet in April, the governor expressed his opinion that inoculation should remain a personal choice for Georgia residents independent of government interference.

“I do not and will not support any kind of state-mandated vaccine passport. While the development of multiple safe, highly effective COVID-19 vaccines has been a scientific miracle, the decision to receive the vaccine should be left up to each individual,” Kemp said.

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