MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — On Monday, Gov. Kay Ivey signed legislation officially banning vaccine passports statewide.
“Since the development of the COVID-19 vaccine, both Dr. Harris and I have said that we would not mandate vaccines in the state of Alabama. I am supportive of a voluntary vaccine and by signing this bill into law, I am only further solidifying that conviction,” Gov. Ivey said in a statement released Monday.
The legislation would “prohibit the issuance of vaccine passports” by state agencies and prevent people from being denied entry to businesses, universities, schools and state agencies if they have not been vaccinated for COVID-19. Business owners can still require their employees to get a vaccine. However, the legislation does not specify any penalty for violations.
“I made the choice to get the COVID-19 vaccine and glad for the peace of mind it brings. I encourage any Alabamian who has not gotten their shot to roll up their sleeves, and if you have questions, consult with your health care provider.”
Republicans across the country have backed bans on so-called vaccine passports even though they are not in widespread use anywhere, portraying them as a government intrusion into personal freedom and health choices. Some Alabama House Democrats criticized the bill after House Republicans stripped language that would have made exemptions for nursing homes and other health offices.
The idea of so-called vaccine passports is to have a document that shows you were vaccinated against COVID-19. Federal officials say there are no plans to make them broadly mandatory, but some Republican governors have issued orders barring businesses or state agencies from asking people to show proof of vaccination.