HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Governor Tom Wolf vetoed an anti-vaccination legislation bill Thursday that attempted to ban so-called “vaccine passports” in Pennsylvania.
The measure, which would prevent government entities from requiring proof of vaccination to enter buildings and using some services, also planned to ban vaccination requirements from institutes of higher education.
Wolf previously hinted that he would veto the legislation saying, “As I understand it, the health secretary would be prohibited from telling anybody they ought to wash their hands,” Wolf said. “I think that’s probably a little far.”
The Wolf administration’s fiery comments claimed the legislation would eliminate the Department of Health’s ability to respond to matters of public health which could, in turn, result in the spread of infectious diseases.
“This legislation is contradictory, misguided and irresponsible,” Wolf said. “This bill prohibits basic public health measures, which are necessary to curb infectious disease transmission and save lives.”
Wolf added the bill limits the DOH’s ability to collect vaccine and immunization information for the state’s information system inadvertently preventing the public from having access to information on vaccination rates and efficacy.
Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) previously called the vaccine requirement “government overreach,” adding that Pennsylvania voters showed they want collaboration between elected officials.
“While this pandemic is hopefully a once-in-a-lifetime event, we have seen that broad powers implemented by the Secretary of Health lead to serious unintended consequences,” Phillips-Hill said. “The voters showed us last month that they want collaboration between elected officials, not one person to wield all of the power and make drastic decisions affecting lives and livelihoods.”