Iowa House sends Senate bill to ban ‘vaccine passports’
DES MOINES — A bipartisan coalition in the Iowa House has voted to ban any Iowa government, private business or venue open to the public from denying entry to people who have not had Covid shots.
The House debate, however, centered on an exemption in the bill for health care facilities, including hospitals. Representative Jeff Shipley, a Republican from Fairfield, objected to the idea of letting hospitals ask whether patients, staff or visitors have had the Covid vaccine.
“It’s incredibly clear this is meant to be coercive. This is meant to create a dragnet, to get more people vaccinated, to force it on people,” said Shipley, who was among five Republicans who voted against the bill.
Representative Steven Holt, a Republican from Denison, said the health of frail Iowans could be jeopardized if facilities like nursing homes aren’t able to find out if visitors have had a Covid shot.
“I have done my best to listen to those who fear for their freedom legitimately and those in health care facilities who are just doing their damndest to figure this out, to navigate it, to take care of the people they are sworn to take care of,” Holt said.
A half dozen Democrats joined 52 Republicans to pass the bill to the Senate. The bill would forbid any Iowa government from issuing an ID card with a person’s vaccination history. Governor Reynolds said earlier this month she wanted the legislature to pass a bill banning so-called “vaccine passports.”