NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has joined fellow Republicans nationwide to advocate against COVID-19 vaccine passports, which are being developed to let inoculated people travel, shop and dine more freely.
The Republican tweeted Tuesday that he supports legislation to prohibit governments from requiring the passports.
“I am supporting legislation to prohibit any government-mandated vaccine passports to protect the privacy of Tennesseans’ health information and ensure this vaccine remains a voluntary, personal decision,” Lee said.
The passports show whether someone has been vaccinated or recently tested negative for COVID-19.
They currently exist only in one state — New York — via a government-sponsored smartphone app produced in partnership with a private company. But Republicans nationwide are pursuing proposals to ban their use as a restriction against people’s activities.
Backers of vaccine passports argue that they are similar to other safety measures for schools and overseas travel that require proof of immunization against various diseases.
Vaccine passports are in use in Israel and under development in parts of Europe, since they are seen as a way to safely help rebuild the pandemic-devastated travel industry.
Andy Slavitt, acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has said he considered the passports a project for the private sector, not the government.
Tennessee’s proposal was slated for its first legislative committee action Tuesday.
First published on: AP