An idea that could help travel and other industries return to regular faster has sparked a political uproar in some parts of the United States. With millions of Americans being vaccinated for the coronavirus each day, a new political fight is brewing over the idea of using “vaccine passports.
To help accelerate the country’s return to everyday life. The concept is simple enough. The passport – likely accessed via a digital app or website – would allow businesses and the venues for significant in-person events to screen people, ensuring all customers or attendees have been vaccinated. In theory, this would enable hard-hit industries to reopen more fully without nearly as much risk of spreading the virus by hosting infected customers.
Schools could require their students to have proof of vaccination to attend, and travel companies like airlines could ramp up their services. From the individual’s perspective, vaccine passports could let people return to the sorts of activities that have been subject to stringent COVID restrictions this past year, such as attending sporting events, concerts, and gyms or eating inside restaurants.
In practice, however, the idea is more complicated. The US does not have a national database of vaccinated people, so it’s unclear how the passport would verify someone’s status. Then there are the concerns about people’s privacy and the lack of freedom this sort of passport could impose on unvaccinated people.