ANGLETON — Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive decision to prohibit government-mandated vaccine passports was met with significant praise by residents.
The “vaccine passport” would be an app that provides a code that identifies the person’s vaccination status or recent negative COVID-19 tests. It would be used by businesses such as sports or entertainment venues that require a person’s COVID status for entry.
Nations like Israel had already begun to implement a similar program, but the governor shut down Texas’s possibilities Tuesday morning with his latest executive order.
“These shots help slow the spread of COVID, reduce hospitalizations and reduce fatalities,” Abbott said in a video posted Tuesday morning on Twitter. “But, as I have said all along, these vaccines are always voluntary and never forced. Government should not require any Texan to show proof of vaccination and reveal private health information just to go about their daily lives.”
Justin French shared similar sentiments with many residents, relieved to hear his local government has no plans to interfere with his daily activities.
“I really don’t think they should force you to have any kind of vaccine if you don’t trust the vaccine,” French said. “We don’t know really what the vaccine is going to do two years from now or whatever. It hasn’t been tested long-term and they pushed it out. If I don’t want it or I don’t want my kids to have it, then I don’t think you need a vaccine passport to do everyday life.”
State Rep. Cody Vasut seconded the governor’s opposition and felt residents didn’t want government regulating them based on their vaccination status.
“I trust the good people of my district to make up their own minds about whether or not they should get a COVID-19 vaccine,” Vasut said in a statement. “I will get a vaccine when supplies are readily available to everyone else, but I do not support forcing that decision on other people. The government has no business requiring people to get a COVID-19 vaccine or to have a COVID-19 vaccination card in order to travel or participate in public life.”
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said during her daily briefing Tuesday the federal government has no plans to implement a vaccine passport system. The Biden administration has said they believe such programs are more appropriate for the private sector.
International travel to some countries already requires carrying a form noting whether the traveler has been vaccinated against certain diseases, though that is paper and not electronic.
Brazoria County’s daily count of new coronavirus infections remained relatively stable Tuesday with 62 cases added, including 10 coming from Pearland. Seven Alvin residents, five from Lake Jackson, four each from Manvel and Brazoria, three from Liverpool and a resident each from Iowa Colony, Richwood and Angleton, also tested positive.
Ten patients were in their 40s, six were in their 20s, five were in their 30s, four each were adolescents and in their 50s, three each were children younger than 10 and in their 70s and one was in their 60s, according to county data.
Tuesday’s count included 26 probable cases, 78 recoveries and five cases administered more than two weeks ago, according to county data.
County officials have now reported 34,474 cases with 1,266 remaining active, 32,296 recovered, 383 deaths and 469 probables.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.