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Gov. Kemp says he does not support idea of vaccine passport

'I do not and will not support any kind of state-mandated vaccine passport.'

ATLANTA — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is the latest Republican state leader to take a stance against "vaccine passports," being developed that would help verify a person's COVID-19 immunization status.

"I do not and will not support any kind of state-mandated vaccine passport," Kemp said in a tweet Tuesday afternoon. 

"While the development of multiple safe, highly effective COVID-19 vaccines has been a scientific miracle, the decision to receive the vaccine should be left up to each individual."

Kemp's stance is similar to that of Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis - who on April 2 signed an executive order forbidding the use of vaccine passports in the state, claiming they would "reduce individual freedom and will harm patient privacy.”

Texas' Republican governor, Greg Abbott, issued a similar order that also banned government-mandated vaccine passports, and Republican Tennessee state leaders also introduced a bill on April 6 to prohibit them, as well, calling them a form of "government overreach."

The passports have become the latest flash point in America’s perpetual political wars.

Supporters say the passports would allow inoculated people to more freely travel, shop and dine. But Republicans portray them as a heavy-handed intrusion into personal freedom and private health choices. 

Vaccine passports currently exist in only one state — a limited government partnership in New York with a private company. But that hasn’t stopped GOP lawmakers in a handful of states from rushing out legislative proposals to ban their use as a tool to restrict what people may do.

Material from the Associated Press contributed to this report.