Shutterstock photo by Nattakorn_Maneerat

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 968 into law on June 7, banning businesses from requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

The bill, written by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, received unanimous support from the Health and Human Services committee and the State Affairs committee. It includes deterrents such as the potential loss of government contracts and licenses to any business that defies the law. If a business chooses to require proof of vaccination regardless, they will become ineligible for government grants or contracts with the state. 

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“Texas is open 100%,” said Gov. Abbott in a video statement uploaded to Twitter for his constituents. “No business or government entity can require a person to provide a vaccine passport or any other vaccine information as a condition of receiving any service or entry in any place.”  

Texans in both parties are divided on the issue. Some see vaccine passports as another public protection, like the wearing of masks, to shield those who are immunocompromised or unvaccinated. Comparatively, many feel the disclosure of private medical information would infringe on their rights. 

Houston city councilmember Tiffany Thomas (D) offered a different angle. 

“In representing a district with a large immigrant and refugee population, I am highly sensitive about requiring additional vaccine documentation. We must be careful not to create barriers for our neighbors as we work to return to work, life and play,” Thomas told Scriberr News.  

“Communication and culture barriers are real, and I have and will continue to work extremely hard to encourage COVID-19 testing in my district because many are fearful of sharing their immigration status.” 

Thomas said businesses implementing screening and sanitation safety protocols and the responsibility taken on by private citizens alike have contributed to the decrease of infections. 

The latest Texas State Profile Report published by the CDC states 46.8% of the state is fully vaccinated, with over half having received at least one dose. New confirmed cases continue to go down. 

Written ByCynthia Zelaya

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