Gov. Brad Little signs executive order banning "vaccine passports"

Posted at 2:16 PM, Apr 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-08 08:47:06-04

Gov. Brad Little announced Wednesday he is signing an executive order banning any State of Idaho government entity from requiring a "vaccine passport" to receive public services or access facilities. Little said he believed Idahoans should be given the choice to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

"Vaccine passports restrict the free flow of commerce during a time when life and economy are returning to normal," said Little.

70 percent of Idahoans 65 and older and nearly 500,000 residents have received one of the approved COVID-19 vaccines. Little says he encourages all Idaho residents 16 and older to choose to receive the vaccine, which he says is "our best shot at protecting jobs and saving jobs."

On April 5, all Idaho residents aged 16 and older became eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of medical condition or occupation. Little said in the Executive Order that he has serious concerns about implementing vaccine passports, saying they will violate medical privacy rights, prejudice those unable to get the vaccine, slow economic recovery, cause division and be counterproductive the administration of vaccine among Idahoans.

The order says no department, agency, board, commission or other executive branch entity or official of the State of Idaho should require a person to prove they received a COVID-19 vaccine to access state services or facilities.

Vaccine passports are being used overseas in the return to normal as a means of minimizing the risk of spreading the virus. Airline and business groups are lobbying the White House to take the lead in setting standards for health passes. The Biden Administration says it is up to the private sector and nonprofits to figure out how Americans can demonstrate that they have been vaccinated or tested.

“It’s not the role of the government to hold that data and to do that,” Andy Slavitt, a White House virus-response adviser, said this week. “It needs to be private, the data should be secure, the access to it should be free, it should be available both digitally and in paper and in multiple languages.”