As more people get the COVID-19 vaccination — over a third of Massachusetts residents have received it so far — there is debate about whether vaccinated individuals should carry digital proof of inoculation, or a vaccine passport, for easier entry into work, school, and leisure events.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19,” and so it has eased restrictions on domestic travelers, saying they no longer need to quarantine or get tested before or after travel unless their destination requires it. As for a vaccine passport, the White House said in March that it will not create a central vaccination database or mandate vaccine passports.
Vaccine passports are “a thorny issue,” according to The Boston Globe, because it brings up security, privacy, and equity issues. Yet, passport programs are in development and being rolled out nationwide and worldwide. New York state, the first state to offer a COVID-19 digital pass, uses an app called “Excelsior Pass,” which displays proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. So far, the system has been used at restaurants, weddings, and venues such as Madison Square Garden and Yankee Stadium, according to The New York Times.
When Gov. Charlie Baker was asked earlier this month if Massachusetts would consider a similar program, he said: “No. No. No. I want to vaccinate people.”
He went on to say, “I think having a conversation about creating a barrier before people have even had an opportunity to be eligible to be vaccinated — let’s focus on getting people vaccinated.”
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