Indiana bill approved to ban government vaccine passports

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State or local governments in Indiana will be prohibited from issuing or requiring COVID-19 vaccine passports under a bill approved by state lawmakers.

The Republican-dominated House and Senate voted Thursday by wide margins to approve a wide-ranging health care and insurance bill that included the vaccine passport ban.

Vaccine passports in use or development in other countries are typically a cellphone app with a code that verifies whether someone has been vaccinated or recently tested negative for COVID-19. The Biden administration has ruled out a national vaccine passport, saying it is leaving it to the private sector to develop such a system.

Republicans across the country portray them as a heavy-handed intrusion into personal freedom and private health choices.

Republican Rep. Martin Carbaugh of Fort Wayne said the Indiana ban would protect individual health care information.

Democratic Rep. Ed DeLaney of Indianapolis criticized the ban as chasing the fantasy of something that doesn’t exist.

The Indiana bill doesn’t place any limits on private businesses. It allows government agencies to continue keeping immunization records for public health administration and provide people with their own immunization records.

The bill now goes to Gov. Eric Holcomb for consideration.

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44 thoughts on “Indiana bill approved to ban government vaccine passports

  1. What a waste of time. Indiana’s position on a “covid passport” has zero effectiveness on travel where a passport is required or on the businesses that could require a person to have one.

    1. Agree, but maybe it sets the tone and an example for how things should be in the state. We are going way to far if we require people to show proof of vaccine to be part of society and as one who’s had the vaccine, I’m fine being around people who haven’t had it. I really think this is about messaging and not letting a few people in Washington get to decide how we in Indiana should live.

    1. I’m with you John M. I did see it as a threat to our privacy and freedom. I’m thrilled with this news. Surely the Governor will approve this bill.

  2. Wow. Why do I have this nagging feeling that had Typhoid Mary been living in Indiana, this Republican-controlled state legislature would have been the first to proclaim that the poor lady deserves to have her medical status kept private and the freedom to infect others? Do the rest of us not have a right to be protected from contagious infections? I think we do. Hopefully private businesses in Indiana will require proof of vaccination in environments and situations where mask mandates are prohibited and/or physical distancing is not achievable.

    1. Brent B. Yes you have that right by getting YOURSELF vaccinated! Why do you care if others don’t want to make the same personal choice as you here? Businesses do not require proof of vaccination for any other (and MUCH more dangerous) diseases. Are you not aware that the chances of a COVID-19 infection being serious is negligible for nearly everyone? Why is there such an overreaction to this virus in general? I just don’t understand how people have gotten so far off track that it actually seems like they have forgotten what we are talking about. Do businesses require passports for other similar viruses such as the flu? No. In fact I would argue that you are much more protected from others by getting vaccinated for COVID-19 than you are for the flu since the efficacy is only about 50% (or less) in any given year for the flu vaccine.

    2. What about international travel? It is likely that many nations will require some proof of vaccination for entry. How about a voluntary program (like getting a passport), instead of an outright ban? If one doesn’t want to participate, don’t. No need to force your beliefs on others in the process. Surely nothing could go wrong by relying on “private” companies to provide this service (sarcasm intended). The state already has your vaccination status. Why not allow its use by those that want to use it?

    3. Bent B. MG is 100% right. Go get vaccinated and then you don’t have to worry about unvaccinated people. You have a less than 1% (.008%) chance of getting Covid after vaccination. Hopefully private business will not require proof of vaccination or this vaccinated person will not give them any of my business.

    4. Yes, hospitals require their staffers to get vaccinated for the flu or they’re fired.

      Private businesses are welcome to impose whatever rules they want. If you want in the garage is at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this May, for instance, you must show proof of vaccination. You don’t have to get vaccinated, but you also don’t have the right to get into the garage is if you don’t want to follow Roger Penske‘s rules. If you don’t like it, don’t patronize the speedway or go start your own race track.

      It’s amazing how the same people who fight for bakeries to be allowed to only bake cakes for the people they share religious beliefs with are generally the same people who now think businesses should not be allowed to require people to be vaccinated. I’m struggling to see the difference between the two.

      I think maybe we should close all the ICUs around the end of May to non-vaccinated people suffering from COVID. If you truly think that COVID-19 is nothing to worry about, surely you’d agree.

    5. So let me get this straight. Bakeries which are private business’s must by law do business with everyone regardless of weather they want to or not, but all other private business’s are free to do business with whoever they want. That makes sense to me.

    6. MG sayeth: “Why do you care if others don’t want to make the same personal choice as you here?”
      Actually, everyone should care. Every body which contracts CoVid-19, symptomatic or asymptomatic, stands a risk of creating a variant [strain]. Every variant strain created stands the chance of: 1) being resistant to existing vaccines; 2) being capable of reinfecting anyone who has already had it. You’ve heard them talk about the potential need for a booster [in the future]? 1+ variants can be formed which can begin reinfecting the country (if you don’t care a whit about anyone outside of the US) before a booster can be formulated. Compassion aside, all of this is why we should care about vaccinating the rest of the world…because all of those people are busy, [unknowingly] creating variants. One of those variants can easily become something which makes spawning variants much, much easier.
      As an FYI, this is a bookmarked link I’ve had in my browser:
      N.B. The small date on that article: July 15th, 2020.
      Also, MG, as you cite the flu vaccine’s efficacy at 50%, it’s a different recipe: Every year, they look at the different/known strains of flu and basically take a guess (sometimes, haphazardly) at what the most likely 3-4 strains of flu will be for the year. If they guess right, the efficacy is very high; if not, then they end of with an efficacy below your cited 50%.

    7. Jeff, based on this thread, I agree … not much makes sense to you.

      Sure seems like the same people who were fighting for bakeries to have the right to discriminate against gay customers (and want the government to stay out of it) now want the government to interfere and tell private businesses they can’t enforce a policy of “no vaccination, no service”.

      Either businesses can discriminate on religion or vaccination status or whatever … or they can’t. It’s either all of nothing.

    8. Joe I agree and don’t think it would legally and morally hold up. You can certainly incentivize and offer perks for vaccinated people, but not denial of service. I guess you can until the courts say no, which may take a while. If we say it’s a matter of public health, but then discriminate because for example people of color are denied service because they haven’t been vaccinated, that will never be acceptable. What about people who can’t get vaccinated for whatever reason. Theirs just no way to mandate this and get away with it.

  3. The question is, will the businesses go along with the laws of the state. They don’t care that there is no masks are okay. It is a system manipulation where big business is now making the rules not the states. All this is a huge game and the public, you and I are the pawns in the big game

    1. Businesses have the right to require you to wear a shirt, pants, and shoes. If they require you to wear a mask, that in no way breaks a State law. Same with requiring proof of vaccination. You have a right not to go to that business if you don’t want to comply. Do you think Nordstrom would be vioating your rights if they kicked you out for walking in wearing nothing but your underwear?

    2. Your health decisions are supposed private and protected information. Again I ask, why the need to require proof of vaccination if I keep reading that getting vaccinated reduces your chance of getting Covid to .008%. That tells me this is in no way about health and protecting people, but rather proving your a good citizen, you obey and can’t come out and play unless you have been vaccinated. It’s ridiculous that we’ve come to this.

    3. re: Jeff A sayeth: “.008%”
      Are you sure about that? That’s 0.00008 of a chance of getting CoVid-19. That’s an 8 in 100,000 chance or 1 in 12,500. I don’t think any of the CoVid-19 vaccines have that level of efficacy as the best I’ve seen (so far) is 90-95%, although Pfizer is said to create an efficacy of 80% after just the first shot.

  4. People who don’t get vaccinated are breeding grounds for variants, will spread the virus to others who may actually die. Proof of vaccination is warranted.

    1. And those variants could eventually render all of our vaccines worthless. So yes, proof of vaccination should be encouraged by businesses to force these people to get the shot. Get a vaccine or stay at home.

    2. and if all this vaccination is for naught then why make people get it. It’s very clever that the government can’t mandate this, but their going to use private business to do their dirty work.

    3. Jeff A, In todays highly polarized political environment, and the conservative media echo chambers, any move by the government to force people to get vaccinated would instantly result in maybe 40% of the population digging in against the order just to “own the libs”.

    4. Dan M. Yes you are correct in your statement if you look at the situation purely from a political lens, but I say look at the broader picture. The liberal federal government can’t mandate this to minority and protected groups without completely undermining their efforts at racial equality and equity so they have backed themselves into a corner on this one. The best they can do is incentivize. Only 10% of black and 8% of Hispanics have been vaccinated. You really think your going to deny them service because they don’t have a vaccine passport. Good luck with that.

    5. >> You really think your going to deny them service because they don’t have a vaccine passport. Good luck with that. <<

      That one is easy. They set aside one table (and one table only) as a private section for the unvaccinated – completely isolated from all of the other tables. "I'm sorry folks, but our unvaccinated section is completely full. There's a 40 minute wait anticipated before more seating becomes available." And on top of that, you could have waitstaff set aside with hazard pay to wait on that table. Imagine being told, however, "we don't have anyone scheduled to wait on our unvaccinated section today. Perhaps tomorrow?"
      Would you prefer some other scenarios?

    6. No Phillip, I understand their are ways around everything and that’s why I think courts will eventually get involved although according to Joe B the law is clear about requiring vaccinations from his post above. I guess they can say this is different than other situations in life. I feel sorry for people that cannot get vaccinated or won’t for valid reasons especially if we can get close to the percentages they wanted voluntarily. Then we can forget about all this.

    7. We disagree about the valid reasons and the data you’re using to justify your beliefs. And the percentage of people who can’t get vaccinated is primarily children who aren’t yet eligible. I don’t believe there are many people with pre-existing conditions left who are medically unable to get vaccinated.

      I’m OK with opening society up once people have had time to get vaccinated and have time for the shots to kick in.

      I personally also think that perhaps we should also announce at the same time we open up that ICU’s will be closed to eligible people who refused the vaccine. If you really think it’s no big deal, time to commit to that.

      As this plays out, I’ve thought of this story I heard in church. Rather ironic given how many folks in churches are refusing the vaccination…


      There once was a man who lived in a two story house. The house was near a river and unfortunately the river began to flood.

      As the river rose, warnings were given via radio, TV and shortwave. Large jeeps drove through the area to evacuate people. As a jeep drove by the man’s house, he was told:

      “You are in danger. Your life is at stake. You must evacuate. Get in the Jeep. Let us help you evacuate.”

      “No,” the man replied from his doorstep. “I have faith. I will be ok. The flood won’t get me. God will take care of me.”

      The water continued to rise.

      Soon the man was on the second floor. A boat was going through the area and arrived at the man’s house. Rescuers made every effort to convince the man to take action so that his life would be saved.

      “You are in danger. Your life is at stake. You will drown in the flood.”

      “No worries,” says the man. “I have faith. Everything is ok. Even though the flood is rising, I will be fine. God will take care of me.”

      The flood continued to rise.

      The man went to the roof to avoid the rising water. A helicopter pilot sees him on top of the roof and hovers above the man. Using a megaphone, the pilot tries to convince the man to grab the rope ladder which was dangling above his head.

      “You are in danger. The flood is still rising. You will drown if you do not grab the rope ladder. Let us help you.”

      “No worries.” says the man. “I will be fine. Yes, the flood is higher but I have faith. God will take care of me.”

      The flood rises. The man drowns.

      At the pearly gates, the man says to God: “I had faith. You let me die.”

      To which God replies: “I sent you a jeep, a boat and a helicopter. What more could I have done for you?”

  5. A private business, a phrase much loved by some in the state legislature and chambers in Washington DC, could require proof to immunization for entry. They may not. Or, perhaps they could post an enter at your own risk disclaimer.

    The case for personal responsibility is clear. Fear of infection may mean avoiding where(ever) one is uncomfortable.

    Why not take state governance out of local (city) decision. Take government out of reproductive rights?

  6. Did they ban providing proof of vaccination for school children too? I guess that is OK. It just becomes a race between mass shootings and disease.

    In both cases, they have confused your freedoms to kill people with the responsibility to protect public health.

  7. I can see it now. The state will have abdicated the responsibility to create a passport system, and then I will have to pay $$ to a private company to get a certified vaccine passport for the activities that do require a passport.

    I guess it makes sense to these guys. They are pro-business, and anti-public health.

    1. @Dan: What would you consider to be a nominal amount of $$ to pay a private company? Why not start your own business? No one says you have to do the programming & database work yourself — hire it out. People do that all of the time; i.e. take an idea, then organize the resources needed to make it happen.

  8. If the GOP state legislators want to prevent “heavy-handed intrusion into personal freedom and private health choices”, then they can stop legislating annual restrictions on women’s reproductive freedom and health care options.

    If they are really pro-life, then they should welcome opportunities to incent both vaccinations and mask-wearing. Apparently such ‘intrusions’ are not permissible when they impact men too.

  9. Somehow I get the feeling that there are posters who would sue a restaurant which requires proof of vaccination to gain admission. That’s when I’d suggest the proprietors of those facilities do something like offer a free dessert to anyone showing a valid vaccination record, although I suspect someone would sue them for having a bias against those who are ignorant and uninformed. That’s when a good lawyer would ask, “is it unfair if they offer to buy the meal of anyone aged 100+?”

  10. Some of you guys are going to be shocked when businesses require you to be vaccinated. This bill prevents the government from making “vaccine passports.” Not private companies.

    1. Robert I heard the other day that black and brown people are the highest unvaccinated groups of people and it’s by choice not because they can’t get it. Wouldn’t business’s be racist if they required vaccine passports from them? The same business’s that say you shouldn’t need a voter ID because that is racist? Your looking at this only from a narrow public health objective, but their are lots of good reasons people will not or can’t get vaccinated. I get the passion of wanting everyone to get vaccinated, but it’s not practical to require it and they can’t force it on someone as a condition of living. Like someone said you can incentivize, but not mandate.

    2. Jeff A, It is easier to report on racial division on vaccine rates because the health department actually collects racial data when people get vaccinated. In addition if you are a minority, you may have less access to vaccine because of economic factors, like lack of transportation, or ability to take time off work, or even if you have to have a sick day. So there are multiple reasons for the racial disparities.

      But, they don’t collect information on political affiliation. Polls show this, but the Health department does not report data on this, but vaccination rates among whites is pretty closely aligned with strong political ideology. Vaccine resistance happens on the extreme left, but even more so on the right.

      But, just like every issue it is more complicated than political affiliation. There are some people that resist because of some of the vaccines (J&J and Astra-Zeneca) used cell lines derived from fetal tissue in the production process. There are some people that distrust the medical testing process that says these are safe because minorities are under-represented in the testing processes. There are some people that fall into the anti-vaccine propaganda trap.

      All I can say is that getting my vaccine was like getting an anti-anxiety shot. I had not realized how much stress it had been even going to the grocery store was going to kill me, or I was going to infect my wife and kill her. It is wonderful going out to eat again at a sit down restaurant. Yes, I had one day after the second shot where I felt a little blah… but it was so worth it!

  11. Dan M, me too. I feel much safer now and worry free about it having had the jab although I did end up in the hospital testing for blood clots. Luckily I did not have those, but the issue the shot might have caused was very painful. I say might because we’ll never know for sure, but the timing was just too coincidental. Still glad I got it, but honestly don’t think I would do another when the time comes and I’ve talked to a lot of people who say the same thing. I hope the mutations are not coming in for round two.

    1. There is talk about some of the vaccine manufacturers wanting to patent their recipes. Personally, I think that if they want the patents, go for it, but in return for that, they’ll have to leave themselves open to lawsuits – if they want business protection, then they have to assume responsibility for the performance of their products – an all or nothing scenario.

    2. @Jeff A: re: the clotting — it’s good to hear you’re okay. The clotting issue(s) — at least, so far, are women and women who had clotting but were then administered Heparin (a blood thinner). It appears Heparin has produced a paradoxical effect in those who have received J&J.
      Interestingly, a male University of Cincinnati student died just one day after receiving a J&J shot prior to the “pause” the FDA & CDC instituted.

  12. 4th Amendment:

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

  13. Federal law prohibits employers and others from requiring vaccination with a Covid-19 vaccine distributed under an EUA. The same section of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act that authorizes the FDA to grant emergency use authorization also requires the secretary of Health and Human Services to “ensure that individuals to whom the product is administered are informed … of the option to accept or refuse administration of the product.” This means that an organization will likely be at odds with federal law if it requires its employees, students or other members to get a Covid-19 vaccine that is being distributed under emergency use authorization.

    State law often prohibits retaliating against an employee for refusing to participate in a violation of federal law. Organizations that require Covid-19 vaccination in violation of federal law may face lawsuits under these state laws not only to block the policy but also for damages and attorneys’ fees. Such potentially costly lawsuits can be avoided by refraining from adopting policies that require vaccination or penalize members for choosing not to be vaccinated.

    All the comments above are wasted time to read. And further, if you consider that over 99+% of those who are under the age of 60 will survive COVID regardless. The data is clear that co-morbidities, obesity, diabetes, or respiratory diseases are the most at risk. Mandating people get an inoculation to make people “feel” safe, but demand people still keep wearing masks (no hard data to support either way) and socially distance (MIT recent study showed no difference of 6 ft vs 60 ft indoors) further proves Fauci and the CDC are still winging it.