DES MOINES, Iowa – Gov. Kim Reynolds said that she strongly opposed vaccine passports during her press conference on Wednesday morning.
“Since the start of the pandemic. I’ve consistently put my trust in Iowans to do the right thing rather than demand or mandate it, and vaccination is no different. While I believe in the efficacy of the vaccine, enough to get it myself and encourage Iowans to do the same. I also respect that it’s a personal choice. But I strongly oppose vaccine passports, and I believe that we must take a stand as a state against them which I intend to do, either through legislation or executive action,” she stated.
“I will also continue to do my part to educate and encourage Iowans about the importance of being vaccinated. But as I said we will take action either through the legislature or with executive action against vaccine passports,” she added.
The Biden Administration has worked with private companies to develop a set of standards for people to prove they received the COVID-19 vaccine in some form of credentials or passport. More companies say they will require proof of vaccination before they reopen for business.
Reynolds was asked to elaborate later in the press conference and pointed out there are privacy and religious liberty concerns with requiring vaccine passports.
“I think when you’re what you’re doing when you move forward with something like that is you’re creating a two-tiered society, and it’s that you either engage, or you’re marginalized,” she said. “What are they doing with the data? It is more big government overseeing what’s happening, and so we want to make sure that that doesn’t move forward in the state of Iowa.”
Several states have taken steps to prohibit vaccine passports.
Reynolds also announced that over 1.7 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been administered in the state. That number, she said, represents 83 percent of all of the doses delivered in the state, ranking Iowa 10th in the nation in vaccine administration.
She also said 44 percent of Iowans aged 18 or older had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. She also said 87 percent of Iowans 65-years-old or older have had the first dose or one dose (the Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires one dose, Moderna and Pfizer require two).
Reynolds said that Iowa ranks 9th in the nation, with 28 percent of its population being fully vaccinated.
She noted that this week is a milestone week with vaccinations being open to all Iowans, and 16 and 17-year-olds are approved to take the Pfizer vaccine. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are limited to people 18-year-old or older.
Reynolds also said that Iowa had received its largest allocation of vaccines to date, receiving 160,770 doses. She noted that the state would see a decrease in Johnson & Johnson vaccines over the next two weeks. Those will primarily be allocated for use on college campuses and for anyone who would benefit from just a one-dose vaccine.
She pointed out that the current uptick in cases has been among young adults. She also noted that hospitalizations are stable in Iowa, but now middle-aged Iowans make up most of the recent hospitalizations since most older Iowans are now vaccinated.
“The vaccination rate among middle-aged adults is lower. We’re just seeing 35 percent of Iowans in their 40s, and about 39 percent in their 50s have had at least one dose of vaccine. So now that the vaccination is open to all Iowans, we have an opportunity, and really we have a responsibility to change that. So I’m asking Iowans, if you’re comfortable, please take the first vaccine that’s offered to you rather than wait for one that you believe is better than the others. Every one of the vaccines are safe and effective, especially at preventing serious illness that can result in serious hospitalization and death,” Reynolds said.
Listen to the full press conference below: