States update passport vaccination



Many countries such as Israel, Denmark and the UK have already begun the process of distributing vaccine passports.

Baily Plourde, Staff Writer

With some countries saturated in COVID-19 and others completely free from it, many have begun to raise the question, “How do we make international travel safe again?” In order to contain the infected countries and secure the safe ones, many believe the idea of a certificate or passport verifying an individual’s COVID-19 vaccination is the answer. 

As this form of confirmation becomes required for many flights, cruises and other forms of international entry, there arises some controversy over whether or not this will be a mandated necessity by the government. The White House retains their stance of not requiring any federally mandated vaccine passports; however, many states have chosen to take the alternative approach and begin their own digital health passport systems. 

New York, partnering with IBM, has been the first U.S. state to distribute a free, online vaccine passport. Called the “Excelsior Pass,” this documentation has allowed New Yorkers to voluntarily download the app and verify their COVID-19 vaccination in hopes of getting Americans back to work and play. 

As Democratic Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, continues his support for this initiative, many other states believe this plan allows for a fault in who we are as Americans. 

“Vaccine passports create different classes of citizens. Vaccine passports restrict the free flow of commerce during a time when life and the economy are returning to normal. Vaccine passports threaten individual freedom and patient privacy,” said Brad Little, Governor of Idaho in a statement to the press. 

Along with Idaho, many other conservative states have chosen this path, including Republican Governors Kristi Noem of South Dakota and Greg Abbott of Texas. 

While these states battle over whether a vaccine passport is American or not, Hawaii has faced a different struggle. 

“The challenge is that there is no comprehensive record of those who have been vaccinated in Hawaii,” said Governor David Ige in a statement to the press. “We have been focused on administering shots in arms. We’ve told the providers that they need to report on gross vaccinations provided so that we can report that information back to the federal government, but we didn’t explicitly require that they enter the vaccination records into the system. So right now we don’t have a comprehensive record of who has been vaccinated in the state.”

Continuing on our nation’s path to reviving American’s everyday life again, each individual state has embarked on the path to normal living. Whether the idea of a vaccine passport will ever reform to be approved by the federal government is a question we are still waiting to see the answer to.