Governor Kristi Noem bans “vaccine passports” in South Dakota

South Dakota has become just the latest state in the country to commit to banning “vaccine passports,” while many other states are moving forward with plans to enact them.
As state hopes to implement vaccine passports, some raise concern over privacy
Published: Apr. 21, 2021 at 9:11 AM CDT
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PIERRE, S.D. - In an executive order issued Tuesday evening, Governor Kristi Noem banned government entities in South Dakota from requiring “vaccine passports.”

“Since the start of the COVID pandemic, we have provided the people of South Dakota with up-to-date science, facts, and data and then trusted them to exercise their personal responsibility to make the best decisions for themselves and their loved-ones,” said Governor Noem. “We’ve resisted government mandates, and our state is stronger for it.”

In the executive order, Noem bans any government entity, to include local governments, within the state from requiring vaccine passports. Noem says that requiring vaccine passports could ultimately lead to “improper disclosure of private health information.”

In an interview earlier this month, Governor Kristi Noem voiced her intent to move forward with a possible ban in the coming weeks.

“I’m going to do everything I can to protect people from getting mandates like this out of governments,” Noem said at the time. “This kind of provision is a fundamental threat to our freedoms.”

Noem said she had voiced her concerns regarding vaccine passports to the White House. President Joe Biden’s administration has said that they did not intend to implement any sort of vaccine passport domestically. However, the White House has kept the door open to leading the private sector in implementing some kind of passport.

A number of states, including Florida, Texas, and Idaho, have already committed to bans on vaccine passports. However, several other states, including Hawaii, are considering or plan to implement some sort of passport program.

“I encourage all South Dakotans to get vaccinated against COVID-19, but we are not going to mandate any such activity,” continued Noem. “And we are not going to restrict South Dakotans’ exercise of their freedoms with un-American policies like vaccine passports. In our state, ‘Under God, the people rule.’ And that is how we will operate for as long as I am governor.”