Wyoming becomes latest state to ban vaccine passports

Jessica Schurtz, RN at Campbell County Public Health, draws up the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to be given to one of the senior citizens in Campbell County. (Photo: County 17 / Brooke Byelich)
Jessica Schurtz, RN at Campbell County Public Health, draws up the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to be given to one of the senior citizens in Campbell County.

By Derek Draplin, The Center Square

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon on Friday issued a directive blocking state agencies from using vaccine passports.

The directive requires state agencies, boards and commissions to “provide full access to state spaces and state services, regardless of a constituent’s COVID-19 vaccination status.”

The directive also urges local governments and private businesses to align their policies and practices with the state.

“Vaccine passport programs have the potential to politicize a decision that should not be politicized,” Gordon, a Republican, said in a statement. “They would divide our citizens at a time when unity in fighting the virus is essential, and harm those who are medically unable to receive the vaccine. While I strongly encourage Wyomingites over the age of 16 to get vaccinated against COVID-19, it is a personal choice based upon personal circumstances.”

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A resolution calling for a “vaccine bill of rights” was introduced to the Wyoming House in March but has not been considered.

The resolution pledges to “protect [Wyoming’s] citizens against unconstitutional and medically irresponsible COVID-19 vaccine mandates.”

Wyoming joins other Republican-led states like Florida, Arizona, Texas and Montana which have blocked the use of vaccine passports. Similar measures have been introduced or are being considered in states like Michigan, Tennessee, New Hampshire, and New Jersey. Legislatures in Iowa and Indiana have also passed bills blocking such passports.

The Biden administration has said it would not require federal vaccine passports.

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A recent study by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian-leaning think tank, argued that herd immunity would soon be reached, making vaccine passports obsolete soon.

“Given the number of people vaccinated, the pace of vaccinations, the now-ample supply of vaccine doses, and the number of people who have natural immunity because they had COVID-19 and are now recovered, we may soon reach herd immunity – roughly 70-75 percent of the population,” the study said. “That would allow resumption of normal activities without continued, general precautions, thereby obviating the need for passports.”

 

 

The Center Square is a 501(c)(3) non-profit focused on state- and local-level government and economic reporting.