Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey joins several other Republican governors in prohibiting mandatory COVID vaccine passports in their states

By Eric Todisco
May 25, 2021 11:36 AM
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Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey
| Credit: Kim Chandler/AP/Shutterstock

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed a bill on Monday that prohibits businesses and public institutions in the state from requiring COVID-19 vaccine passports.

The Republican politician, 76, signed the bill after it passed the Alabama Senate 30 to 0 on April 8 and the House 76 to 16 last Monday, according to the Montgomery Advertiser. It goes into effect immediately.

"I've signed SB 267!" Ivey said on Twitter. "Since the development of the COVID19 vaccine, both [State Health Officer Dr. Scott] Harris & I have said that we wouldn't mandate vaccines in AL. I'm supportive of a voluntary vaccine & by signing this bill into law, I'm only further solidifying that conviction."

"I made the choice to get the COVID19 vaccine & glad for the peace of mind it brings," she added. "I encourage any Alabamian who has not gotten their shot to roll up their sleeves, & if you have questions, consult with your health care provider."

According to CNN and Reuters, the bill bans private businesses and public institutions in Alabama — including schools — from requiring documentation of COVID vaccination to provide goods or services to individuals.

Alabama schools "may continue to require a student to prove vaccination status as a condition of attendance only for the specific vaccines that were already required by the institution as of January 1, 2021, provided that the institutions give an exemption for students with a medical condition or religious belief that is contrary to vaccination," the law's text states, per reports.

Like Alabama, many Republican-led states have taken a strong stance against a mandatory vaccine passport.

Earlier this month, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a similar bill that bans businesses from requiring proof of vaccination in the state. "In Florida, your personal choice regarding vaccinations will be protected and no business or government entity will be able to deny you services based on your decision," DeSantis, 42, said in a statement.

In Texas, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order last month prohibiting government-mandated vaccine passports in the state. "We will continue to vaccinate more Texans and protect public health — and we will do so without treading on Texans' personal freedoms," said Abbott, 63.

passport and medical mask on top of a suitcase
Credit: ugurhan/Getty

Despite Republican concerns over the vaccine passport, Jen Psaki, White House press secretary for the Biden administration, has previously said that there will be "no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential," according to The Hill. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci has also echoed Psaki's claims, but did say on the Politico Dispatch podcast last month that independent businesses such as theaters or educational institutions may choose to enforce them or form their own vaccine requirements.

"I'm not saying that they should or that they would, but I'm saying you could foresee how an independent entity might say, 'Well, we can't be dealing with you unless we know you're vaccinated,' " said Fauci, Biden's chief medical advisor. "But it's not going to be mandated from the federal government."

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