“I thought it was important for state government to signal, look, we’re not going to have vaccine passports,” Kemp told Fox News in an interview. “People know what to do. We’re going to continue to encourage them to get the vaccine.”
Kemp’s order also bans state agencies, state service providers and state properties from requiring coronavirus vaccine passports and prohibits Georgia Registry of Immunization Transactions and Services data from being used for a coronavirus vaccine passport program.
“There’s a lot of concern out there that people are going to be forced to do something with their own medical decisions,” Kemp said. “We do not support that.”
Brian Kemp, governor of Georgia, speaks during a news conference at a mass COVID-19 vaccination site at the Delta Flight Museum in Hapeville, Ga., on Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2021. (Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
“I’ve been pushing the vaccines for a long time. I’ve been vaccinated,” Kemp said. “Forcing people to do something is not going to work. You need to get them to buy into what you’re selling or what your solutions are.”
The governor said his state has an economic edge because many Georgia businesses never closed in the first place. He touted his state’s 4.3% unemployment rate in April, the lowest number among the 10 most populated states in the U.S.
“You look at the numbers, for the first time in 20 or 30 years you’ve got more people moving out of California than moving in. People are flocking to places like Georgia, Florida, Tennessee,” he said. “Our economy is smoking right now. Our issue is we need more people in the workforce in all different sectors.”
However, he’s concerned about messaging around the risks of international travel. Atlanta is an international travel hub.
“We’ve done pilot projects in Atlanta at the airport. There’s ways you can deal with this without saying no to international travel,” he said.
Kemp is also eyeing a ban on requiring masks in schools.
“We have had the availability for teachers to get vaccinated for a very long time now. I for one think it’s time for the mask mandate to come off for the kids in our schools,” he said.