- Ali Bozzuto
The United States vs the Vaccine Passport
Finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for over the course of the past 16 months: a mask free summer! That is, if you are vaccinated. But are you vaccinated? Do I even have a right to ask?
As the vaccine becomes easier to access and Americans get closer to “the new normal” after the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, should we be prepared to prove our vaccination status? Perhaps for an event, or at a destination that promises “no masks if vaccinated,” organizers may want to see vaccination proof in order to keep attendees and guests feeling safe. But how do we prove our vaccination status? Is our paper card truly enough?
Enter the “vaccine passport,” or the digital solution for proving your COVID-19 vaccination status. It is theorized that a vaccine passport can go above and beyond the standard, CDC-issued paper card because it can verify your vaccine status against medical records and eliminate possible fraud that can come with the paper card. Plus, just like your digital boarding pass, it resides right on your phone - no need for keeping track of additional documents.
Those are the pros, but the vaccine passport hasn’t only received positive press. Many Americans fear that the vaccine passport will serve as a means of enforcing citizens to receive the vaccine by requiring it for everyday tasks, like attending the workplace. For example, only 40% of Gallup Panel participants were in favor of providing proof of vaccination for dining in a restaurant.
The Biden administration has stated that the federal government has no plans for creating a country-wide passport system. Yet many states have banned the use of a vaccine passport, or limited how businesses can check whether customers are vaccinated.
At the time of writing, the United States has fully vaccinated just under 50% of the population. So, how are those folks proving they’re vaccinated - if they decide they’re comfortable with that?
Private businesses are churning out solutions for digital copies of vaccination records. It is up to the States to decide whether they're ready to evaluate the options. And if you thought the nature of the vaccine passport was complicated, wait until you read up on how the numerous tech solutions stack up against one another.
To be continued...