Lawmakers vote to ban government COVID-19 vaccine passports

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INDIANAPOLIS — A bill headed to the governor’s desk would ban state and local government-issued COVID-19 vaccine passports.

It means Indiana cannot require you to take the COVID-19 vaccine or even give you a government-issued document saying you’ve been vaccinated.

Right now, no government entity is issuing a vaccination passport and no one in government is trying to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine.

However, those in favor of the bill say this guarantees that won’t change in the future.

The last-minute vaccination passport language was the main reason democratic State Eep. Ed Delaney said he voted no on the bill.

“It’s sad that on the last day– I’m going to use a fancy word– we are chasing chimeras, I think it’s a Greek word, it means fantasies things that don’t really exist,” said Delaney.

He emphasized there’s no such thing as a government issued immunization passport.

“But there is such a thing as a concern about health,” said Delaney.

Republican State Rep. John Jacob said this provision in the bill is necessary. In fact, he has been longing for it all session.

“The thought of a state mandating that people take a vaccine that’s still experimental, according to the manufacturers of the vaccine, would be considered a gross violation of the individual freedom of Hoosiers,” said Jacob.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce supports this legislation because it doesn’t put a ban on businesses that may want to require a vaccine.

“By excluding businesses from this bill and this provision it allows businesses that might need to require proof of vaccination,” said Chamber President Kevin Brinegar. “But it also gives the option if they were to choose to issue a vaccination card or document.”

The chamber doesn’t necessarily recommend doing those things but can see where it may be needed.

“There may be certain medical labs or research labs where they want to make sure that everyone that is going into that laboratory has been vaccinated,” said Brinegar.

At this point, the bill only refers to COVID-19 vaccines.

If another disease and vaccine comes up in the future, lawmakers would need to expand the language to reflect that.

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