Republicans in Pennsylvania’s state Senate started advancing legislation Monday to ban governments and school districts from requiring COVID-19 vaccine passports for any type of access.
As reported by CBS Philly, the prohibition on so-called vaccine passports applies to state agencies, counties, municipalities and school districts, and bars them from requiring a proof of vaccination to use services, enter buildings or engage in activities.
The Republican-penned bill passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee along party lines, 6-4, with Democrats opposing it. The bill does not apply to private businesses or organizations.
Sens. Kristin Phillips-Hill or York County, Michele Brooks of Mercer County and Judy Ward of Blair County who were the sponsors, argue that requiring a vaccine passport is government intrusion into private medical information.
They also claim that vaccine passports discriminate against Pennsylvanians who do not get vaccinated against coronavirus by choice or due to medical reasons.
On the other hand, Sen. Art Haywood, D-Montgomery, said school districts already require vaccines, such as for measles mumps and rubella, and may need the authority to require a COVID-19 vaccine for community safety in a state where the virus has killed more than 27,000 people, according to state data.
More analysis needed
Haywood said that much more analysis needs to be done to determine whether school districts should have the authority to require COVID-19 vaccination.
Meanwhile, some Republican-controlled states have pursued similar prohibitions.
According to NBC New, the governors of Texas, Florida and Arizona have announced executive orders to curtail the use of so-called vaccine passports, or documentation of Covid-19 vaccinations.
Those states joined several others that have pushed back against vaccination certification, arguing that it violates privacy and civil rights. The Biden administration has said it will not build a national vaccination app, but private companies are racing to create digital “passports” that show proof of immunization.
President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told Politico that the federal government will not mandate vaccine passports for businesses or travelers.