Michigan House passes COVID-19 vaccine passport ban

Republicans alongside a handful of Democrats in the Michigan House passed a bill Wednesday that would ban government-required COVID-19 vaccine passports, even though they do not exist and no legislative effort is being made to utilize them.

The measure, if approved by the Senate and signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, would ban vaccine passports or any other system where individuals’ civil rights are diminished by their COVID-19 vaccination status, according to the bill’s wording.

Whitmer spokesman Bobby Leddy said that instead of collaborating on methods to promote vaccines and save lives, Republicans are wasting time trying to ban something that doesn’t exist.

"The state has been very clear that we’re not currently exploring a vaccine passport concept, nor has there been any discussion about mandating vaccines," Leddy said.

Supporters of the bill say they are concerned that one day the governor may look at vaccine mandates.

The bill would prevent any governmental body from tracking vaccination statuses and requiring proof of vaccination, including public schools and colleges, government buildings and meetings, and any other governmental entity.

RELATED: European countries consider requiring vaccine passports for travelers

Bill sponsor Rep. Sue Allor testified before the 62-47 vote about her concerns with discussions about requiring students to be vaccinated to live on campus or vaccine requirements to go grocery shopping or see public performances.

"We need to make our stance known. The control of one’s life based on his or her vaccination status is frightening," the Wolverine Republican said. "It is not something that we as United States citizens should ever consider as acceptable."

Medical center holds COVID-19 vaccine before it is administered in a clinical trial. (Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)

There has been much debate in committee meetings on what the bill actually does. Some Democrats say it sounds like the white CDC vaccination card people get when they receive the shot is a vaccine passport.

The Michigan Senate cleared a different vaccine bill that would ban state and local health officials from mandating minors be vaccinated for COVID-19. That bill would ban vaccine requirements of the same public schools, buildings and spaces as the vaccine passport bill.

Children have already been able to receive vaccine exemptions for more than 40 years in Michigan.

Some Michigan Universities have established COVID-19 vaccine requirements. All 15 public universities are encouraging students to get vaccinated. The University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus, as well as Oakland University will require students who want to live on-campus to be vaccinated in the fall. U-M’s Dearborn campus will require everyone on campus to provide proof of vaccination or weekly negative tests.