Vaccine passports: Everything you need to know

Credit: Rae Cook/Axios
Credit: Rae Cook/Axios

There is likely to be growing demand for vaccine certifications for use in the U.S., for international travel as well as domestic purposes. Airlines and tourism groups have already called for vaccine certifications as a way to ease the process of pandemic-era travel.

The Biden administration has made it clear it will not be the role of the federal government to issue vaccine passports or to collect and store individuals’ vaccination data at the federal level, but the government is taking on a coordination role and working with many of the international and domestic vaccine passport initiatives being developed by other parties. 

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Individual states are landing on different sides of the issue. Several have launched or are actively exploring the use vaccine certificates with New York being the first state to introduce a COVID-19 vaccine certification pass.

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At the same time, several governors have come out strongly against vaccine passports, with some issuing executive orders banning their use, as has been done in Florida and Texas, or supporting legislation to prevent them, as in Tennessee

In the absence of a federally issued or sanctioned vaccine passport… the U.S. may see more state or local level certification initiatives, which may or may not be coordinated across jurisdictions.

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