Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds of Iowa said on Wednesday that she will oppose vaccine passports and take action against them.
“I strongly oppose vaccine passports, and I believe that we must take a stand as a state against them, which I intend to do either through legislation or executive action,” the governor said at a press conference.
The note of opposition from Reynolds comes nearly a week after Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis first said he would take “executive function” against vaccine passports. Five days ago, DeSantis followed up on that claim and issued an emergency order banning so-called vaccine passports in the state.
“Businesses in Florida are prohibited from requiring patrons or customers to provide any documentation certifying COVID-19 vaccination or post-transmission recovery to gain access to, entry upon, or service from the business,” the Florida order states.
A number of other states have also voted to ban vaccine passports. The Missouri Senate voted 26 to 7 on Wednesday to ban them, a day after Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas issued an executive order banning them. To date, 18 states have proposed legislation or delivered executive orders opposing the radical privacy infringement. This list includes Arizona, Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Some states, however, have already said they will back vaccine passports. These include Illinois, New York (which is already issuing passes to residents), and Hawaii.
The Iowa governor said vaccine passports would create a “two-tiered society” that would not be conducive to a free country. Reynolds noted that 44 percent of Iowans who are 18 or older have been administered one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, as have 87 percent of seniors 65 and up. An estimated 28 percent of Iowans have been fully vaccinated, which ranks Iowa ninth in the United States.
“While I believe in the efficacy of the vaccine enough to get it myself, and encourage Iowans to do the same,” said Reynolds, “I also respect that it is a personal choice.”
Following the Washington Post first reporting in March on the Biden administration working with private corporations to deliver vaccine passports, on Tuesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki claimed the White House does not support “a system that requires Americans to carry a credential.” Nevertheless, as the Post noted in its report, five administration officials said coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients is playing a major role in facilitating the development of vaccine passports with private entities.