Mayor Johnson focused on encouraging vaccination as Abbot proclaims passports ‘prohibited in the Lone Star State’

Mayor Johnson focused on encouraging vaccination as Abbot proclaims passports ‘prohibited in the Lone Star State’_60f1b286d8156.png

Proof than an individual has received the COVID-19 vaccine will not be required by customers or employees of most Dallas businesses, as state legislators and Gov. Gregg Abbot have introduced effective bans on requirements for “vaccine passports.”

City officials and Mayor Eric Johnson have taken no position on the merits of passports, instead concentrating on encouraging and driving up the numbers of people vaccinated to reach herd immunity

Senate Bill 968, sponsored by State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) includes a provision penalizing businesses if they ask for proof of the vaccine from their customers. They will be denied state contracts and could lose permits or licenses under the law.

“Texas is open 100%, and we want to make sure you have the freedom to go where you want without limits,” Abbott said before signing the law earlier this month. “Vaccine passports are now prohibited in the Lone Star State.”

Abbot previously issued an executive order barring state agencies considering whether a person is vaccinated when hiring.

Johnson believes the city and its people must do more to increase the vaccination rate in Dallas, which is currently around the state average.

“We already have hit a bit of a plateau, and that’s why we recently announced the Mayor’s Vaccine Raffle,” Johnson told the Dallas Express. “We have been encouraging our residents to get vaccinated for months, and now we are trying to incentivize those who are still on the fence or who have not felt motivated to get their vaccine quickly as case rates have fallen.”

The raffle is open to any Dallas resident who has received the vaccine since June and will end Friday, July 23. Prizes include gift cards or passes to the state fair.

Johnson said the ideal target is in the 70% range to achieve herd immunity, but the city “would love to see the numbers climb even higher than that.”

“The vaccines protect the people who receive them and everyone around them, so we want to be as close to 100% as possible,” he said.

The mayor said city leaders and other high-profile figures have generally been vocal about their support of vaccines.

“The types of donations we received from our local businesses reflects the widespread belief that the vaccines are the way to end this pandemic,” Johnson said.

“The challenge is battling misinformation that spreads quickly, especially online,” he said. “We have to stick to the facts and keep people informed. COVID-19 is an awful virus that has claimed too many lives and livelihoods, and the vaccines will help end this pandemic. That’s the truth.”

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