Jun. 23, 2021

HARRISBURG – Rep. Lee James (R-Butler/Venango) commended his colleagues today after the House of Representatives voted in favor of Senate Bill 618, which would prohibit vaccine passports from being required to do normal activities in the Commonwealth.

“The freedom of choice is not up for debate,” James said. “People shouldn’t be told that the COVID-19 vaccine has to be injected into their bodies in order for them to partake in everyday activities.” 

The bill also limits the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s authority on social distancing and masking, among others. 

James said requiring a vaccine passport would be a direct violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), which protects a person’s health information from being disclosed without their consent or knowledge. 

“COVID-19 has been in our population for more than a year,” James said. “We have a vaccine available to people if they choose to get vaccinated. Requiring vaccine passports as a ticket to get back to normalcy would expose sensitive patient information. The right to choose is the only right choice.

“The common misconception is that people choose to not get the vaccine simply because they don’t want it. In fact, some people choose not to get the vaccine due to complications that could arise from existing medical issues.”

The bill moves to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk awaiting his signature. 

Representative R. Lee James
64th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives