PHOENIX (AP) — Gov. Doug Ducey used his executive powers Monday to prohibit local and regional governments from making “vaccine passports" a requirement for people to enter businesses or get services, calling it an encroachment on the private medical information of Arizona residents.
The Republican governor signed an executive order that also bans state agencies or businesses that contract with state government from requiring the vaccine passports that prove people have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.
“While we strongly recommend all Arizonans get the COVID-19 vaccine, it’s not mandated in our state — and it never will be,” Ducey said in a statement. "Vaccination is up to each individual, not the government.”
Businesses that decide they want to require vaccine passports — along with health care providers, child care facilities, schools and universities — are exempted from the ban.
Arizona’s top three public universities are considering whether to require students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated. University of Arizona President Robert Robbins said he has been in discussions with his counterparts at Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University about possibly taking a united stance.
“I would favor mandating it,” Robbins told reporters during his weekly media briefing.
Robbins, who is in favor of vaccine passports for the campus, said he expects to make a decision before the fall semester on the issue that has divided colleges across the country.
Meanwhile, state health officials on Monday reported 692 new confirmed COVID-19 cases but no additional deaths.
The state’s coronavirus dashboard listed the total number of cases since the pandemic began as 854,453. The death toll remained 17,153.
Arizona Department of Health...