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Ducey bans vaccine passports; city and county never planned on requiring them

“Purely symbolic in nature,” said Mayor Regina Romero
Published: Apr. 19, 2021 at 6:36 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -Governor Doug Ducey signed an executive order Monday banning a vaccine passport in Arizona. It means cities, counties, towns and state agencies cannot ask people for vaccine documentation to receive services or enter a building.

“The residents of our state should not be required by the government to share their private medical information,” said Governor Ducey in a statement. “While we strongly recommend all Arizonans get the COVID-19 vaccine, it’s not mandated in our state — and it never will be. Vaccination is up to each individual, not the government.”

This new executive order prevents state and local governments from requiring Arizonans to provide their COVID-19 vaccination status to receive service or enter an area. However, Pima County supervisor, Matt Heinz, said the county was never planning on restricting people due to vaccination status or requiring people to show their vaccination status. He said moves to do would actually only hinder their efforts to vaccinate more people.

“I’m really just quite puzzled as to what this is really a response to,” said Heinz “It almost seems like a little bit of a political distraction.”

Heinz said he is unaware of any other municipality or county in the state planning to ask for vaccination status. Regina Romero, Tucson Mayor, said the City of Tucson also never had plans to do anything like what the executive order seems to be in response to.

“This Executive Order represents more divisive, political grandstanding from Governor Ducey against Arizona cities and is purely symbolic in nature. The City of Tucson did not have any plans to implement any of the actions that the Executive Order purports to pre-empt. Had the Governor asked, we would have happily shared this information with him,” said Romero in a statement.

The executive order states universities, schools and childcare facilities can still require vaccination records. Same with health care facilities, long-term care facilities and other health entities that can do so under current law. Private businesses are not prohibited from requiring vaccination documentation in order to provide services or allow entry.

“I’m a big advocate for vaccine passport,” said Dr. Robert Robbins, UArizona president.

Robbins said his university has not decided whether to require a vaccine passport, or proof of vaccination, for the COVID-19 vaccine for faculty, students and staff. However, he said he is in favor of requiring it, with medical and religious exemptions.

“I still really, really strongly encourage and really favor mandating it for both COVID-19 but also for influenza vaccine and all the things we commonly do,” he said.

The University hopes to have a decision about vaccine requirements by the fall. Students are asked to complete a vaccine survey, so leaders can see how many students have taken or plan to take the vaccination. To date, nearly 4.5 million vaccine doses have been administered in the state.

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