Ala. Gov. Signs Bill Banning COVID-19 Vaccination Documents

An Alabama law signed by Gov. Kay Ivey prohibits agencies from issuing COVID-19 vaccination documents like passports or passes. The law also prohibits private and public entities from requiring proof of vaccination.

COVID-19 vaccines
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(TNS) — Gov. Kay Ivey Monday signed legislation banning private business and public entities, including schools, from requiring proof of COVID vaccination to provide services.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, passed the Senate 30 to 0 on April 8 and the House 76 to 16 on May 17.

Orr’s legislation does not include an enforcement mechanism.

The bill says public entities “may not issue vaccine or immunization passports, vaccine or immunization passes, or any other standardized documentation for the purpose of certifying the immunization status of an individual, or otherwise require the publication or sharing of immunization records or similar health information for an individual” outside of already-required school vaccinations.

It also bans public entities and private businesses from requiring proof of vaccination to provide goods or services to individuals, outside of existing school vaccinations. But the bill limits those requirements to vaccines approved as of Jan. 1, 2021. A future legislature may have to revisit that provision to allow the use of vaccines developed in the future.

New York State has developed a voluntary program for individuals to use to confirm negative COVID tests or vaccination status. Israel has a “green pass” system allowing vaccinated individuals to go to places like gyms and theaters.

But several Republican-led states have passed laws or issued executive orders against the requirements, saying they constitute an invasion of privacy. Florida and Texas have both banned the practice. The World Health Organization in early April also declined to endorse the measures, citing equity concerns and the need for data on the vaccine’s ability to block transmission.

Alabama’s COVID-19 caseload, like the rest of the country’s, has eased in the last few months. According to BamaTracker, which collects data on the outbreak in the state, the 7-day daily average of cases was 200, the lowest number reported since April 8, 2020, near the dawn of the pandemic.

The state still trails the rest of the country in COVID-19 vaccinations, despite pushed by Ivey and other officials. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 36% of Alabamians 18 and older have received at least one shot, compared to 49% nationwide. About 76% of adults 65 and older have received one shot, compared to 85% nationwide.

©2021 the Montgomery Advertiser, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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