By Raven Clabough
Wyoming’s Republican Governor Mark Gordon has affirmed the right to medical freedom by signing a directive banning vaccine passports, asserting vaccines are a “personal choice, based upon personal circumstances.”
Under Gordon’s directive, cities, towns, counties, and private businesses in Wyoming are instructed to provide access to all individuals regardless of vaccine status.
“Vaccine passport programs have the potential to politicize a decision that should not be politicized,” Gordon said in a statement, The Center Square reported. “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.”
A resolution calling for a “vaccine bill of rights” was introduced in the Wyoming House back in March, but has not been considered, according to The Center Square.
Wyoming now joins a growing group of states fighting to preserve medical freedom for their citizens. Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis was the first to sign a ban against vaccine passports, calling them a privacy violation. Under the order, Florida businesses are prohibited from requiring patrons to show evidence of COVID-19 vaccination to enter a business or be served, the Associated Press reported.
“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 participate in normal society,” DeSantis said. “You want to go to a movie theater, should you have to show that? No. You want to go to a game, a theme park? No. So we’re not supportive of that.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott offered similar sentiments when he announced a ban on government-mandated vaccine passports last month, touting the availability of the vaccine but emphasizing it was voluntary and not required.
“Every day, Texans return to normalcy as more people get the COVID vaccine. In fact, this week, Texas will surpass 13 million doses administered,” Abbott said in a Tuesday video announcement. “Those shots help slow the spread of COVID, reduce hospitalizations, and reduce fatalities.”
“But, as I have said all along, these vaccines are always voluntary and never forced. Government should not require any Texan to show proof of vaccination and reveal private health information just to go about their daily lives,” the governor continued. “That is why I issued an executive order that prohibits government-mandated vaccine passports in Texas. We will continue to vaccinate more Texans and protect public health and we will do so without treading on Texans’ personal freedoms.”
Governors in Arizona, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, and Arkansas have also issued executive orders prohibiting vaccine passports, while Alabama, South Carolina, and Minnesota have passed “COVID-19 Vaccine Bills of Rights,” prohibiting “mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations” and prohibiting businesses from “requiring any person to receive COVID-19 vaccines,” the Gateway Pundit reported.
Missouri Governor Mike Parson tweeted in April that he had “no intention of implementing” a vaccine passport in his state. The Missouri legislature has also taken steps to protect citizens from vaccine passports with a healthcare bill that prohibits vaccine passports, though an amendment has been added to remove restrictions on private businesses.
“We don’t want the government to tell the businesses what they can and cannot do. That’s very anti-free market,” State Representative Justin Hill (R-St. Charles) said. “But we can tell the government what to do.”
Even Democratic governors have publicly rejected the notion of a vaccine passport.
“I have no interest in vaccine passports,” Kansas Governor Laura Kelly said last month. “We will not be issuing those under my authority.”
Kansas lawmakers have also imposed a ban on vaccine passports as part of the state’s new budget, but Governor Kelly has not indicated whether she supports the passport provision in the budget, according to the Kansas City Star. Meanwhile, some Kansas Republicans believe the provision does not go far enough because it does not ban private businesses from imposing vaccine requirements. They are seeking to pass a bill in the final hours of the legislative session that would also ban businesses from requiring vaccines.
Meanwhile, a study by the Competitive Enterprise Institute indicates that there will be little need for vaccine passports as “herd immunity” would soon be reached as more Americans take the shot.
“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.”