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Alabama officially bans vaccine passports — Law takes immediate effect

Governor Kay Ivey on Monday signed into law SB 267 banning vaccine passports in the state. The law becomes effective immediately.

SB 267 was sponsored by Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) and carried in the House by Rep. Paul Lee (R-Dothan). The bill received unanimous support in the Senate but 16 Democratic “nay” votes in the lower chamber.

The new law forbids a state or local governmental entity, or any of its officers or agents, from issuing vaccine or immunization passports, vaccine or immunization passes, or any other standardized documentation for the purpose of certifying the immunization status of an individual.

SB 267 also bans governmental entities or agents from requiring an individual to receive an immunization or present documentation of immunization as a condition for receiving any government service or for entry into a government building.

Additionally, any entity or individual doing business in Alabama is now barred from refusing to provide goods or services, or refusing admission, to a customer based on that customer’s immunization status or lack of documentation regarding that status.

“Since the development of the COVID-19 vaccine, both Dr. Harris and I have said that we would not mandate vaccines in the state of Alabama,” said Governor Ivey in a statement. “I am supportive of a voluntary vaccine and by signing this bill into law, I am only further solidifying that conviction.”

“I made the choice to get the COVID-19 vaccine and glad for the peace of mind it brings,” she added. “I encourage any Alabamian who has not gotten their shot to roll up their sleeves, and if you have questions, consult with your health care provider.”

The law does not affect the rights of educational institutions to require students to get longstanding vaccines that were required before January 1 of this year — meaning the institutions will not be able to require the COVID-19 vaccine but will still be able to require meningitis vaccinations, for example. These institutions must allow exemptions “for students with a medical condition or religious belief that is contrary to vaccination.”

SB 267 does not affect the rights of employers to compel employees to get vaccines as a condition of employment.

The law also does not affect businesses’ rights to require masks or implement other COVID precautions in their establishments.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn