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‘We are not going to restrict freedom’: South Dakota governor is latest to ban 'un-American' vaccine passports

South Dakota became the latest state to officially ban vaccine passports, with Republican Governor Kristi Noem condemning them as “un-American” and freedom-restricting.

In a statement on Wednesday, Noem announced that she had signed an executive order banning “government-instituted” vaccine passports throughout the entirety of South Dakota.

“Since the start of the COVID pandemic, we have provided South Dakotans with up-to-date science, facts, and data and then trusted them to make the best decisions for themselves and their loved-ones,” declared Noem, claiming that South Dakota is “stronger” for having resisted government mandates during the pandemic.

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“I encourage all South Dakotans to get vaccinated against COVID-19, but we are not going to mandate any such activity. And we are not going to restrict freedom with un-American policies like vaccine passports,” she continued, before concluding that the people will rule “under God” for as long as she is governor.

According to the executive order, no “state agency, department, board, commission, or other executive branch entity or official under direct control of the Governor shall require an individual to present a COVID-19 vaccine passport” to enter a government building or do business with the state. Nor should any agency, commission, or local government order a private business to mandate vaccine passports, the executive order said.

South Dakota joins several other states, including Florida, Texas, Arizona, Idaho, and Utah, which have also banned mandatory vaccine passports.

Though some of the states allow private businesses to implement their own vaccine requirements for customers, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued his own executive order banning businesses from asking customers for their vaccination status earlier this month.

DeSantis argued that vaccine passports “would create two classes of citizens,” and that a total ban is “necessary to protect the fundamental rights and privacies of Floridians and the free flow of commerce within the state.”

New York and Hawaii have both decided to launch a vaccine passport system, while internationally, Israel implemented its own system in March. The UK is also planning to introduce vaccine passports in the coming months, despite criticism and a petition against the idea receiving nearly 350,000 signatures.

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