Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed a bill on Monday that blocks state institutions and businesses from requiring people to show proof of vaccination in order to receive goods or services.
SB 267 says that state government entities and their agents “may not issue vaccine or immunization passports … or any other standardized documentation for the purpose of certifying the immunization status of an individual.” Under the new law, businesses may not deny customers based on immunization documentation. It does not touch on whether employees can be subjected to such requirements. State government agencies are also prohibited from declining services based on immunization status.
The legislation also bans schools from asking students and teachers for vaccine certification in order to return to in-person classes. Around the country, both state schools and private institutions have rolled out new vaccination requirements for people coming back to campus. This bill seeks to prevent the implementation of similar plans in Alabama. It stops schools from creating vaccine requirements that were not already in place on Jan. 1, 2021.
Critics have said this law is overly broad and may prohibit health officials from merely giving out vaccine cards that are useful for keeping track of what vaccine brand patients received and when their second dose is due. A proposed amendment that would have exempted state-operated health institutions from these bans, allowing them to distribute vaccine cards. However, this amendment was not adopted.
The law does not mention how this law should be enforced, nor does it specify any penalties for a violation.