Gov. Mike Dunleavy issued an administrative order on April 26 stating that the State of Alaska will not mandate vaccine passports for those traveling to or around Alaska.
The order clarifies that it is not intended to supersede any laws or rights that local governments or private businesses have to set COVID policies.
“Alaska has led the nation with our COVID-19 response and vaccination rates, effectively protecting our most vulnerable citizens. With high vaccination rates, we are seeing our economy come back to life and welcoming travelers to our state,” Dunleavy said in a prepared statement. “As I have said from the beginning, receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is a private health decision best left between Alaskans and their doctor. I am unequivocally opposed to any government order requiring Alaskans to get this vaccine or using an individual’s vaccine status as a means of restricting their rights. There will be no vaccine passports under my watch.”
Dunleavy added that he will continue to protect the fundamental right of citizens to travel freely between states, as well as the rights of Alaskans who travel within the state.
In issuing the order, Dunleavy noted that more than 244,000 Alaskans are considered “fully vaccinated” from COVID. Among those age 65 and older, the vaccination rate is nearly 70%.
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Dunleavy observed that the economic impact of the COVID has been “socially and economically devastating to the entire state.” In particular, he noted that the federal government’s restrictions on the cruise industry will “have a devastating impact on our 2021 tourism season.”
He added that each American has a right to accept or refuse COVID shots, which have only been approved for “emergency use authorization.”
“Vaccinations have been touted as a significant tool that can help move the State forward in bringing our communities out of the pandemic and into public and economic recovery, yet the Administration recognizes, and fully supports, the constitutional right to travel and the freedom for individuals to make personal health choices,” Dunleavy stated.
His administrative order encourages “precautionary behaviors to avoid transmission of COVID-19” but goes onto clarify that the executive branch “does not, and will not, require any person to produce their personal vaccine history, also referred to as a “Vaccine Passport,” in order to travel to, or around, Alaska. (The Alaska Marine Highway ferry system is allowed to inform passengers on long haul trips of the voluntary choice the passenger can make to provide proof of vaccination and avoid the need for a negative test before boarding).”
The order is effective immediately.