Vaccine passports: Some airlines are using them, expert says these other large entities may be next

ByLuz Pena KGO logo
Sunday, April 4, 2021
Vaccine passport: Here are places you may need one in the future
The Commons Project created the Common Pass, a digital certificate that lives on your smartphone. Some airports are already implementing it, and the company says other large businesses are looking into it as well.

SAN FRANCISCO -- If you are flying to Hawaii you will need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test. The Commons Project created the Common Pass, a digital certificate that lives on your smartphone.

"What we've been working on is to really develop a new standard. It's an open standard, but it's basically a way of digitizing health information, both vaccination records and test results," said Paul Meyer, CEO Commons Project.

RELATED: Increased use of vaccine passports could lead to scams, experts warn

Paul Meyer is part of the Vaccination Credential Initiative, a group of companies and health care group working on guidelines for a digital health pass. Right now at least eight airlines are implementing it, but the idea is to expand this to large venues.

"In the last week the Miami Heat announced that they were ramping up sections to fans who can prove that they've been vaccinated. We're seeing employers, concert venues, festivals, and we were approached by Burning Man," said Meyer.

Starting April 15, California will allow theater performances, indoor concerts among other private gatherings. That's the same day those 16 and older can get vaccinated.

VIDEO: Should a 'vaccine passport' be required? Experts weigh in on future of eating out, boarding flights, and more

It's the dream on the horizon, a world without masks, where you glide through the airport or sit down to dinner wherever you want. The question now is, will you need a so-called "vaccine passport" to get there?

The state is requiring testing or proof of vaccination for some of these events. A requirement that give peace of mind to people like Marazul Mayorga.

"Too many people and a lot of people are removing their mask and they don't have their mouth covered and you get anxious because you don't know," said Marazul Mayorga, Vaccinated Bay Area resident.

In a statement San Francisco's COVID-19 command center gave us some insight about what they are thinking regarding vaccine passports:

"We are tracking this concept to more fully understand its benefits and challenges, and we will continue to monitor guidance set forth by the State and CDC that may influence our thinking around such a concept. We are looking into areas where this could be useful and, in particular, where larger numbers of people are coming together."

But there are also some concerns.

"You create separation and people might not have access to things if they are not vaccinated," said San Francisco resident, Ravi Mishra.

Luz: "How do you avoid fraud with these vaccination passports?"

Paul Meyer: "The way that the data is digitized," and added, "Basically take the record of that vaccination and put it in 'A's' effectively a digital envelope."

Dr. Wasserman is part California's vaccine advisory committee. He doesn't believe a vaccine passport will be needed, unless, "If we don't get control over the virus that is going to force us to take a hard look at what we need to do and perhaps make some tough choices like doing something like a vaccine passport."

And if you were thinking about laminating your vaccinate card, Dr. Wasserman says to wait.

"There is no doubt that we are going to need booster shots. So, I think it's going to happen and it's just a matter of when," said Dr. Wasserman.

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