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The U.S. Is Developing a Vaccine Passport

The so-called health passport will show proof of vaccination against COVID-19.

vaccine passport

The U.S. government is developing a vaccine passport in conjunction with the private sector.

(Photo: Getty Images)

The newest thing in travel might soon be as ubiquitous as passports, tickets and reservations: a vaccine passport. 

These so-called health passports will show proof of vaccination against COVID-19. The U.S. government is working with the private sector to develop some sort of passport that residents can use while traveling. It’s likely that once travel picks up, countries, airlines and other attractions will require proof of vaccination for entry; schools and workplaces may require them as well. 

“We recognize this is a tricky and important subject, but the core here is that Americans, like people around the world, who are vaccinated will want to be able to demonstrate that vaccination in various forms,” Andy Slavitt, White House senior coronavirus advisersaid during a briefing Monday. 



However, 
unlike other countries, airlines and the European Commission, which are developing their own health passports, Slavitt said the U.S. government will only help facilitate their creation; it will not issue them or control the health data.  

“The government here is not viewing its role as the place to create a passport, nor a place to hold the data of citizens,” Slavitt said. “We view this as something that the private sector is doing and will do.” 

The International Air Transport Association, a trade group representing international airlines, has developed a digital vaccine platform called Travel Pass. Virgin Atlantic, Qantas and Singapore Airlines are currently using it on a trial basis. An app version will be available in April. 

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An interagency task force is currently looking into details. The administration has two main concerns, Slavitt said: equality and the safety and security of millions of Americans’ personal health data. The administration wants anyone to be able to use a health passport, not just those with access to technology. 

The U.S. Travel Association and 26 other organizations are asking President Joe Biden to formulate a plan by May 1 to open the country to international visitors, citing the financial and job losses that have cut across the industry because of pandemic-related travel restrictions. 

So far, more than 148 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with 96 million adults receiving one dose, and 53 million fully vaccinated. 

What are your thoughts on a vaccine passport? Share them in the comments. 

Comments
  • Kathie S.

    I’m 60 and I’m not worried about the world, and anything digital is open to the world through hackers and data miners, knowing I received the Covid vaccines. The problem lies within the fact that whatever company/companies develop this vaccine passport are going to want personal identity authentication information. There’s where the problem lies. I KNOW my older siblings WILL NOT put any personal information out on the web. Both sisters still print and hand complete health forms for doctors. They’ll NEVER go for it. Mistrust of electronic records, and in some cases with good reason, will likely not go over well with my sisters or their spouses. My guess is that will be the overwhelming fear among all seniors. I like to travel, but why can’t we just carry that precious piece of gold paper (our Covid shot record) and have that be our proof? If it needs to be uniform globally, why not create a form or valid card and a place that can officially transform your written Covid shot record into whatever internationally accepted form or wallet sized card that can be used for travel? We already have to show I.D. to travel; add that to the list.
    In Florida, the governor won’t even ALLOW a vaccine passport and it’s not even a reality. Before we have to worry about how citizens will react, the federal government better check out individual states. I see some real blowback coming from any state that isn’t fond of the current administration. Just my humble opinions.

    Reply
    • Carolyn

      That vaccination card can be counterfeited with minimal effort.

      Reply
  • Luis l.

    They should update our passports for free for those who have been vaccinated or a low fee or even a stamp that no one can duplicate. Get from a government office building.

    Reply
  • Roberta S.

    There are people who, for medical reasons, cannot be vaccinated. What provisions will there be so they are treated equally and fairly at work, for travel, for full and unfetterd participation in our society and economy?

    Reply
  • John M.

    A covid passport of any sort is a complete nonstarter for me and my family. My wife and I along with our four young adult children are unanimous in our aversion to such a concept and will not participate in any commerce that requires it. Corporations
    better think twice before embarking on that road because I feel the backlash will be swift. I’m very surprised about the strong feelings that the younger cohort of the population has against this idea.

    Reply
  • Murielle

    I’m trypanophobic, extreme fear of needles. I’m healthy thus far and live with healthy family members wo have taken the vaccine. If this policy goes forward as planned that will effectively block me and folks like me from ever traveling outside of our homes. Have you thought about that? This is my first time commenting.

    Reply
  • Nancy M.

    Time was that we had to have a card certifying smallpox vaccination in order to travel to certain countries. Why not do that again? Also, I don’t see why the government shouldn’t do this. Automatic bias toward private industry?

    Reply
  • Robert P.

    I’m having a hard time understanding why vaccine passports have become a topic of fear and politicization. Having been vaccinated as soon as it was available to me, I welcome vaccine passports as soon as all are eligible if it helps society return to normal faster. I’m fine with there being tangible benefits to the vaccine in addition to avoiding hospitalization and death, and if that includes unfettered access to airlines and movie theatres via a passport, so be it.

    Reply
  • Jay K.

    Credit card size vaccine card with picture is convenient to carry should be internationally accepted.

    Reply
  • My medical information is private and I won’t share it. Haven’t we learned anything about how anyone can be hacked? Credit data, federal government, banks, hospitals etc. plus so called private information is often shared between companies. And after a vaccine passport what next? A passport to get in restaurants, stores, the beach?

    Reply
  • The recovery rate for the virus is over 90% and I am healthy. I do not plan to get the vaccine. I see no need for a vaccine passport.

    Reply
  • John R.

    No digital type of documentation. Make it in paper form. I don’t want information like that on an app controlled by the tech companies. Just don’t want it! I have the card I got when I got the vaccine. Why isn’t that good enough?

    Reply

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