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State government policies about vaccine requirements (vaccine passports)

Last updated: August 6, 2021

This article tracks state government legislation and executive orders related to COVID-19 proof-of-vaccination requirements. Proof-of-vaccination requirements are business or government requirements that people prove they have been vaccinated against COVID-19. State governments have enacted various rules around the use of proof-of-vaccination requirements in their states, such as banning proof-of-vaccination requirements in some circumstances or implementing policies—sometimes called vaccine passports—that allow vaccinated people to bypass COVID-19 restrictions or engage in activities unavailable to unvaccinated people.

Twenty states, all with Republican governors, prohibit proof-of-vaccination requirements. In eleven states, governors banned proof-of-vaccination requirements through executive orders. In nine states, legislators passed laws banning proof-of-vaccination requirements.

Four states—California, New York, Hawaii, and Oregon—have facilitated the creation of digital vaccination status applications or exempt fully vaccinated individuals from some COVID-19 restrictions if they can provide proof of vaccination. All four states have Democratic governors.

This page also tracks state employee COVID-19 vaccination policies. On July 26, 2021, California became the first state to require state employees to either get a COVID-19 vaccine or submit to weekly testing. Four states have passed vaccine or test requirements for all or some state employees.

On this page you will find:

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Recent news

This timeline shows the three most recent updates related to proof-of-vaccination requirements. Click here to find older updates.

  • August 3, 2021: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced that patrons and staff will need to provide proof of vaccination at indoor businesses, such as restaurants, gyms, and entertainment venues, starting on Sept. 13.[1]
  • July 29, 2021: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued an order that underscored a previous prohibition on proof-of-vaccination requirements. Executive Order No. GA-38 bans government entities at the state, county, and local levels and private entities that receive public funding from asking people to prove their vaccination status. The order also prohibits government entities from requiring that people get vaccinated. Like Abbot’s previous one, the order does not apply to nursing homes. Abbott banned proof-of-vaccination requirements on April 6, 2021.[2][3]
  • July 14, 2021: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) signed House Bill 244, which prohibits public K-12 schools, colleges, and universities from requiring that students or staff get a COVID-19 vaccine.[4]

State proof-of-vaccination policies

Twenty states have banned proof-of-vaccination requirements. All 20 states—Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming—have Republican governors. In total, 20 out of the 27 states with Republican governors have prohibited proof-of-vaccination requirements through executive orders or legislation. Eight states with Republican governors—Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Vermont, West Virginia—have not prohibited proof-of-vaccination requirements at any level of government.

Four states have facilitated the creation of digital vaccination status applications or proof-of-vaccination programs that allow fully vaccinated people to bypass some coronavirus restrictions. All four states—California, Hawaii, New York, and Oregon—have Democratic governors. Nineteen states with Democratic governors have neither prohibited nor facilitated proof-of-vaccination requirements at any level of government.

The following map shows the states that have prohibited proof-of-vaccination requirements through executive orders or legislation. It also shows the states that have implemented proof-of-vaccination requirements for some activities.

The following table shows the states that have prohibited proof-of-vaccination requirements through executive orders or legislation. It also shows the states that have implemented proof-of-vaccination requirements for some activities.

Vaccination policies by state
State Governor party affiliation Proof-of-vaccination requirements? Policy
Alabama R Prohibit Gov. Kay Ivey (R) signed a bill prohibiting government agencies from issuing documentation to certify vaccine status or requiring that people show proof of vaccination. The bill also prohibits private businesses from requiring proof of vaccination.[5]
Alaska R Prohibit Governor Mike Dunleavy (R) issued an order prohibiting state agencies from requiring proof of vaccination as a requirement to travel around the state.[6]
Arizona R Prohibit Gov. Doug Ducey (R) issued an order prohibiting state and local governments and agencies from requiring people to prove their vaccine status.[7]
Arkansas R Prohibit Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) signed a law prohibiting state and local governments and agencies from requiring proof of vaccination to access services.[8]
California D Permit The California Department of Public Health and Technology launched the Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record portal, a website that allows residents to upload a digital copy of their vaccination record.[9]
Florida R Prohibit Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) issued an order prohibiting state and local governments from issuing documentation to certify vaccine status. The order also prohibits private businesses from requiring customers to prove their vaccine status.[10]
Georgia R Prohibit Gov. Brian Kemp (R) issued an order prohibiting state agencies from requiring proof of vaccination to access facilities or receive services. The order also says no proof of vaccination will be required to enter Georgia.[11]
Hawaii D Permit Fully vaccinated individuals in can travel between islands without quarantining or presenting a negative COVID-19 test.[12]
Idaho R Prohibit Gov. Brad Little (R) issued an executive order prohibiting state agencies from requiring that people reveal their COVID-19 vaccination status to access buildings or property.[13]
Indiana R Prohibit Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) signed a bill that included language prohibiting state and local government agencies from requiring anyone, including employees, to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.[14]
Iowa R Prohibit Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signed a bill prohibiting businesses or government agencies that require proof of vaccination as a condition for receiving services or entering the premises from receiving state government grants or contracts. The bill also prohibits state and local governments from issuing COVID-19 identification cards.[15]
Missouri R Prohibit Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) signed House Bill 271, a bill prohibiting county and local governments that receive public funding from requiring proof of vaccination in order to receive government services or access public transportation.[16]
Montana R Prohibit Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) issued an order prohibiting state agencies from requiring that people reveal their COVID-19 vaccination status to access buildings or property. The order also applies to private businesses.[17]
New York D Permit New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) launched Excelsior Pass, an voluntary app that allows people to upload negative COVID-19 test results or proof of vaccination. People can use the app to access sections at outdoor venues reserved for fully vaccinated individuals.[18]
North Dakota R Prohibit Gov. Doug Burgum (R) signed House Bill 1465, which bans state and local governments and most businesses from requiring proof of vaccination as a condition to receive services. The bill exempts health care organizations from the ban.[19]
Ohio R Prohibit Gov. Mike DeWine (R) signed House Bill 244, which prohibits public K-12 schools, colleges, and universities from requiring that students or staff get a COVID-19 vaccine.[20]
Oklahoma R Prohibit Governor Kevin Stitt (R) issued an order prohibiting state agencies from requiring that people show proof of vaccination to enter public buildings.[21]
Oregon D Permit The Oregon Health Authority released guidance allowing businesses that verify customer vaccine status to allow fully vaccinated customers to go without masks while indoors. Businesses that do not verify vaccine status are still required to maintain an indoor mask requirement for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.[22]
South Carolina R Prohibit South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) issued an order prohibiting state and local government agencies from requiring proof of vaccination.[23]
South Dakota R Prohibit Gov. Kristi Noem (R) issued an order prohibiting state and local agencies from requiring that people show proof of vaccination.[24]
Tennessee R Prohibit Governor Bill Lee (R) signed Senate Bill 0858, which prohibits state or local government departments or officials from requiring that people show proof of vaccination to enter government buildings or properties.[25][26]
Texas R Prohibit Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued an order prohibiting government agencies, as well as businesses and institutions that receive state funding, from requiring that people show proof of documentation.[27] Abbott also signed a bill on June 7 that prohibits government agencies and businesses from requiring proof of vaccination to receive services or enter the premises.[28]
Utah R Prohibit Gov. Spencer Cox (R) signed House Bill 308, which prohibits state agencies and public universities from requiring people to receive a COVID-19 vaccine or show proof of vaccination.[29]
Wyoming R Prohibit Gov. Mark Gordon (R) issued a directive prohibiting state agencies, boards, and commissions from requiring proof of vaccination to receive services.[30]

State employee vaccination and testing requirements by state

On July 26, 2021, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced that all state employees, as well as healthcare workers, would have to submit to weekly COVID-19 testing or get a COVID-19 vaccine. Newsom was the first governor to implement a policy requiring state employees to choose between routine COVID-19 testing or a COVID-19 vaccine. The map below shows which states have implemented similar policies.

State employee COVID-19 vaccination policies
State Governor party affiliation State employee COVID-19 vaccine or test requirement? Policy
California D Yes On July 26, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced that all state employees would be required to get a COVID-19 vaccine or submit to weekly COVID-19 testing. He said the policy would begin August 2.[31]
Maryland R Yes On August 5, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced that state employees in 48 facilities, including Department of Health and Department of Public Safety and Corrections facilities, would be required to get a COVID-19 vaccine or undergo weekly testing. Employees who forego a vaccine will also be required to wear face masks while indoors. Hogan said the policy would begin September 1.[32]
New York D Yes On July 28, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced that state employees would be required to get a COVID-19 vaccine or be tested for the virus on a weekly basis.[33]
Virginia D Yes On August 5, Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced all state employees, including some contractors and employees at state universities and colleges, would be required to get a COVID-19 vaccine or submit to weekly COVID-19 testing. He said the policy would begin September 1.[34]

Legislation related to proof-of-vaccination requirements

This list shows bills and resolutions related to proof-of-vaccination requirements that are being considered in each state in 2021. Click on a bill to read more about it. This information is provided by BillTrack50.com

Timeline

The following timeline shows the most recent activity involving proof-of-vaccination requirements.

  • August 3, 2021: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced that patrons and staff will need to provide proof of vaccination at indoor businesses, such as restaurants, gyms, and entertainment venues, starting on Sept. 13.[35]
  • July 29, 2021: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued an order that underscored a previous prohibition on proof-of-vaccination requirements. Executive Order No. GA-38 bans government entities at the state, county, and local levels and private entities that receive public funding from asking people to prove their vaccination status. The order also prohibits government entities from requiring that people get vaccinated. Like Abbot’s previous one, the order does not apply to nursing homes. Abbott banned proof-of-vaccination requirements on April 6, 2021.[36][37]
  • July 14, 2021: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) signed House Bill 244, which prohibits public K-12 schools, colleges, and universities from requiring that students or staff get a COVID-19 vaccine.[38]
  • June 18, 2021: The California Department of Public Health and Technology launched the Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record portal, a website that allows residents to upload a digital copy of their vaccination record.[39]
  • June 15, 2021: Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) signed House Bill 271, a bill prohibiting county and local governments that receive public funding from requiring proof of vaccination in order to receive government services or access public transportation.[40]
  • June 7, 2021: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed a bill prohibiting state and local government agencies from issuing COVID-19 documentation that could be used to verify a person’s vaccination status. The bill also prohibits government agencies and businesses from requiring proof of vaccination to receive services or enter the premises.[41]
  • May 28, 2021: Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) issued an order prohibiting state agencies from requiring that people show proof of vaccination to enter public buildings.[42]
  • May 26, 2021: Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) signed Senate Bill 0858, which prohibits state or local government departments or officials from requiring that people show proof of vaccination to enter government buildings or properties.[43][44]
  • May 26, 2021: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) issued an order prohibiting state agencies from requiring proof of vaccination to access facilities or receive services. The order also says no proof of vaccination will be required to enter Georgia.[45]
  • May 24, 2021: Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) signed Senate Bill 267, which prohibits state and local governments from issuing documentation to certify an individual’s vaccine status. The bill also prevents state and local governments and private businesses from denying people goods or services or admission for not having proof of vaccination.[46]
  • May 20, 2021: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signed a bill prohibiting businesses or government agencies that require proof of vaccination as a condition for receiving services or entering the premises from receiving state government grants or contracts. The bill also prohibits state and local governments from issuing COVID-19 identification cards.[47]
  • May 20, 2021: Gov. Doug Burgum (R) signed House Bill 1465, which bans state and local governments and most businesses from requiring proof of vaccination as a condition to receive services. The bill exempts health care organizations from the ban.[48]
  • May 18, 2021: The Oregon Health Authority released guidance allowing businesses that verify customer vaccine status to allow fully vaccinated customers to go without masks while indoors. Businesses that do not verify vaccine status are still required to maintain an indoor mask requirement for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.[49]
  • May 11, 2021: A program that allows fully vaccinated individuals in Hawaii to travel between islands without quarantining or presenting a negative COVID-19 test went into effect. Travelers can upload proof of vaccination to the “Safe Travel’s” website or show their vaccine card at the airport.[50]
  • May 11, 2021: South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) issued an order prohibiting any local government, state agency, or state employee from requiring proof of vaccination to access government services or facilities.[51]
  • May 7, 2021: Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon (R) issued a directive prohibiting state agencies, boards, and commissions from requiring proof of vaccination to receive services.[52]
  • May 5, 2021: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced that large-scale outdoor event venues can allow fully vaccinated people to sit together without social distancing in designated areas. Eligible people will need to provide proof of vaccination through the Excelsior application or in paper form. He also said the state will pilot allowing large-scale indoor event venues to designate certain areas for fully vaccinated individuals beginning June 19.[53]
  • April 26, 2021: Governor Mike Dunleavy (R) issued an order prohibiting state agencies from requiring proof of vaccination as a requirement to travel around the state.[54]
  • April 19, 2021: Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) signed an order prohibiting all state and local government agencies from requiring individuals to provide their vaccination status to access facilities and services. Private businesses can still require proof of vaccination as a condition of service or entry.[55]
  • April 13, 2021: Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) issued an order prohibiting state agencies from requiring that people reveal their COVID-19 vaccination status to access buildings or property. The order also prohibits businesses from requiring customers show proof of vaccination to gain entry or access services.[56]
  • April 7, 2021: Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) issued an executive order prohibiting state agencies from requiring that people reveal their COVID-19 vaccination status to access buildings or property.[57]
  • April 6, 2021: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued an order prohibiting government agencies, businesses, and institutions that receive state funding from requiring people to show proof they’ve received a coronavirus vaccine.[58]
  • April 2, 2021: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) issued an order banning government entities from issuing vaccine passports. The order also prohibits businesses from requiring vaccine passports.[59]
  • March 26, 2021: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced announced the launch of Excelsior Pass, an app that provides digital proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test. The app is optional for individuals and businesses that require such proof to allow people to enter (like wedding reception, concert, or sports venues).[60]
  • March 16, 2021: Gov. Spencer Cox (R) signed House Bill 308, which prohibits state agencies and public universities from requiring people to receive a COVID-19 vaccine or show proof of vaccination.[61][62]

See also

  1. NPR, “NYC Becomes Largest U.S. City To Require Proof Of Vaccination For Indoor Activities,” August 3, 2021
  2. The Texan, “Gov. Abbott Signs Order to Prohibit COVID-19 Business Restrictions, Restrict Vaccine Passports,” July 29, 2021
  3. Office of the Texas Governor, “Governor Abbott Issues Executive Order Prohibiting Government-Mandated Vaccine Passports,” April 6, 2021
  4. Statehouse News Bureau, “DeWine Signs Bill Banning Schools, Colleges From Mandating COVID-19 Vaccine Under Emergency Use,” July 14, 2021
  5. U.S. News and World Report, “Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey Bans Coronavirus Vaccine Passports,” May 24, 2021
  6. Office of Governor Mike Dunleavy, “Dunleavy Issues Administrative Order Precluding Alaska Vaccine Passports,” April 26, 2021
  7. Becker’s Hospital Review, “Arizona bans vaccine passports, but healthcare facilities exempt,” April 20, 2021
  8. WHV 11, “Arkansas governor signs bills banning vaccine requirements,” April 28, 2021
  9. NBC News, “California rolls out digital vaccine verification — but don’t call it a passport,” June 18, 2021
  10. Ron DeSantis, “Governor Ron DeSantis Signs Landmark Legislation to Ban Vaccine Passports and Stem Government Overreach,” May 3, 2021
  11. News 4, “Gov. Kemp issues executive order banning vaccine passports,” May 26, 2021
  12. Travel + Leisure, “Hawaii’s Vaccine Passport Launched This Week — Here’s What to Know,” May 13, 2021
  13. Idaho State Journal, “Idaho governor bans mandated COVID-19 ‘vaccine passports’,” April 8, 2021
  14. The Center Square, “Indiana, local governments cannot require vaccine passports,” April 26, 2021
  15. Des Moines Register, “Gov. Kim Reynolds signs law limiting use of ‘vaccine passports’ in Iowa,” May 20, 2021
  16. Missouri Gov. Michael L. Parson, “GOVERNOR PARSON SIGNS HB 271 REGARDING LOCAL PUBLIC HEALTH ORDERS AND VACCINE PASSPORTS,” June 15, 2021
  17. U.S. News and World Report, “The Latest: Governor Bans Vaccine Passports for Montana,” April 13, 2021
  18. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, “Governor Cuomo Announces Launch of Excelsior Pass to Help Fast-Track Reopening of Businesses and Entertainment Venues Statewide,” March 26, 2021
  19. The Bismarck Tribune, “North Dakota ‘vaccine passport’ ban goes to governor,” April 28, 2021
  20. Statehouse News Bureau, “DeWine Signs Bill Banning Schools, Colleges From Mandating COVID-19 Vaccine Under Emergency Use,” July 14, 2021
  21. The Oklahoman, “Gov. Kevin Stitt issues order banning state agencies from requiring COVID vaccinations,” May 28, 2021
  22. KDRV, “UNDER NEW GUIDANCE, OREGON BUSINESSES WOULD HAVE TO CHECK VACCINATION STATUS TO LOOSEN MASK REQUIREMENTS,” May 18, 2021
  23. WebMD, “S.C. Governor Bans Mask Mandates, Vaccine Passports,” May 13, 2021
  24. Associated Press, “Noem issues order banning vaccine passports in South Dakota,” April 21, 2021
  25. FOX 17, “Tennessee Senate passes bill to ban government-issued ‘vaccine passport’ programs,” April 14, 2021
  26. Tennessee General Assembly, “SB 0858,” accessed on July 8, 2021
  27. Office of the Texas Governor, “Governor Abbott Issues Executive Order Prohibiting Government-Mandated Vaccine Passports,” April 6, 2021
  28. The Texas Tribune, “Gov. Greg Abbott signs bill to punish businesses that require proof of COVID-19 vaccination,” June 7, 2021
  29. Salt Lake Tribune, “New Utah law blocks vaccine passports if you’re on a college campus or at a state government building,” April 6, 2021
  30. Governor Mark Gordon, “Governor Gordon Issues Directive Banning Vaccine Passports,” May 7, 2021
  31. Office of Governor Gavin Newsom, “California Implements First-in-the-Nation Measures to Encourage State Employees and Health Care Workers to Get Vaccinated,” July 26, 2021
  32. The Office of Governor Larry Hogan, “Governor Hogan Announces New Vaccination Protocols for State Employees,” August 5, 2021
  33. Governor Andrew Cuomo, “Governor Cuomo Updates New Yorkers on State’s Progress Combating COVID-19,” July 28, 2021
  34. WRIC, “Northam sets vaccine mandate for Virginia state employees, shifts school mask recommendations,” August 5, 2021
  35. NPR, “NYC Becomes Largest U.S. City To Require Proof Of Vaccination For Indoor Activities,” August 3, 2021
  36. The Texan, “Gov. Abbott Signs Order to Prohibit COVID-19 Business Restrictions, Restrict Vaccine Passports,” July 29, 2021
  37. Office of the Texas Governor, “Governor Abbott Issues Executive Order Prohibiting Government-Mandated Vaccine Passports,” April 6, 2021
  38. Statehouse News Bureau, “DeWine Signs Bill Banning Schools, Colleges From Mandating COVID-19 Vaccine Under Emergency Use,” July 14, 2021
  39. NBC News, “California rolls out digital vaccine verification — but don’t call it a passport,” June 18, 2021
  40. Missouri Gov. Michael L. Parson, “GOVERNOR PARSON SIGNS HB 271 REGARDING LOCAL PUBLIC HEALTH ORDERS AND VACCINE PASSPORTS,” June 15, 2021
  41. The Texas Tribune, “Gov. Greg Abbott signs bill to punish businesses that require proof of COVID-19 vaccination,” June 7, 2021
  42. The Oklahoman, “Gov. Kevin Stitt issues order banning state agencies from requiring COVID vaccinations,” May 28, 2021
  43. FOX 17, “Tennessee Senate passes bill to ban government-issued ‘vaccine passport’ programs,” April 14, 2021
  44. Tennessee General Assembly, “SB 0858,” accessed on July 8, 2021
  45. News 4, “Gov. Kemp issues executive order banning vaccine passports,” May 26, 2021
  46. U.S. News & World Report, “Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey Bans Coronavirus Vaccine Passports,” May 24, 2021
  47. Des Moines Register, “Gov. Kim Reynolds signs law limiting use of ‘vaccine passports’ in Iowa,” May 20, 2021
  48. The Bismarck Tribune, “North Dakota ‘vaccine passport’ ban goes to governor,” April 28, 2021
  49. KDRV, “UNDER NEW GUIDANCE, OREGON BUSINESSES WOULD HAVE TO CHECK VACCINATION STATUS TO LOOSEN MASK REQUIREMENTS,” May 18, 2021
  50. USA Today, “Hawaii rolls out inter-island vaccine passport plan, starting with locals,” May 12, 2021
  51. NPR, “South Carolina Governor Bans Mask Mandates,” May 12, 2021
  52. Governor Mark Gordon, “Governor Gordon Issues Directive Banning Vaccine Passports,” May 7, 2021
  53. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, “Governor Cuomo Announces Large-Scale Outdoor Venue Capacity Increase with New Fully Vaccinated Fan Sections Starting May 19,” May 5, 2021
  54. Office of Governor Mike Dunleavy, “Dunleavy Issues Administrative Order Precluding Alaska Vaccine Passports,” April 26, 2021
  55. Office of the Governor, “Doug Ducey,” April 19, 2021
  56. State of Montana, “GOV. GIANFORTE ISSUES EXECUTIVE ORDER PROHIBITING VACCINE PASSPORTS,” April 13, 2021
  57. Boise State Public Radio, “Idaho Governor Bans Vaccine Passports By State Entities,” April 7, 2021
  58. New York Times, “Vaccine passports are becoming the next coronavirus divide. The White House is skittish; Texas’ governor opposes them.,” April 6, 2021
  59. Becker’s Health IT, “Florida governor outlaws COVID-19 vaccine passports: 3 details,” April 5, 2021
  60. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, “Governor Cuomo Announces Launch of Excelsior Pass to Help Fast-Track Reopening of Businesses and Entertainment Venues Statewide,” March 26, 2021
  61. The Salt Lake Tribune, “New Utah law blocks vaccine passports if you’re on a college campus or at a state government building,” April 6, 2021
  62. U.S. News and World Report, “Law Blocks Utah Government From Requiring COVID-19 Vaccines,” April 6, 2021