Will You Need a Vaccine Passport in California?

Will You Need a Vaccine Passport in California?

2021-04-20 12:43:25

Good morning.

Baseball is back in the state. Tickets to see Bad bunny early next year they were snatched away in no time. The Musso & Frank Grill – the iconic Hollywood chase that's much indoors – has announced it will reopen on May 6.

All of that has been possible, officials and experts say, as more and more Californians are being vaccinated.

And while the biggest hurdle to the state's vaccination campaign is a limited supply of doses, that is rapidly changing, officials say.

As of Monday, one in four Californians had been fully vaccinated, and more than 40 percent of Californians have received at least one injection. All adults 16 years of age and older are eligible for vaccination.

Many companies have been allowed to reopen, but some can open with a higher capacity if they need a vaccination certificate or a negative coronavirus test. The state is too bringing larger groups together, if everyone has been tested or fully vaccinated.

So how can someone quickly and consistently prove that they have been vaccinated? One option is what has become known as a & # 39; vaccine passport & # 39 ;.

Here's what you need to know about what that would mean in California:

What is a vaccine passport?

Most often the term is used to describe a digital vaccination certificate.

Think of the boarding pass you would show on your phone to get through airport security, or a digital concert ticket with a QR code.

At this point, you should get a paper vaccination card when you get your first dose, but of course any kind of paper document is fragile.

Still, experts say the term "passport" is misleading. It's actually more like vaccine verification – something that's been around for a long time in a variety of contexts and forms. (Schools and summer camps, for example, often require children to be vaccinated against certain diseases.)

"We don't call it a passport because that implies that it is a government issued document," Dr. Christopher Longhurst, U.C. San Diego Health's chief information officer told me. "We're not talking about that."

Why is there a debate about the use of vaccine passports?

As with most health data issues, there are concerns about privacy. And as with anything to do with sorting people into groups of haves and have-nots, there are questions about fairness and ethics.

There are wide differences in vaccination coverage between countries, and vaccine passports could be made international travel much easier for residents of rich countries.

In the United States, my colleagues reported, conservative politicians have turned "vaccine passports" into a political and cultural flashpoint, arguing that they are encroaching on Americans' freedom. Some states, like Texas, organizations receiving state funding have barred from demanding vaccination data.

The White House has said the federal government will not support "a system that requires Americans to carry ID."

But legal experts have said that companies such as airlines, concert venues or warehouse operators have the right to require employees or customers to do things in the interest of public health. Many companies have said they want to be able to assure customers that their fellow customers have been vaccinated to lure them back.

Dr. Michael Jerrett, professor of environmental health science at U.C.L.A. Fielding School of Public Health, told me that as long as there is "equal access" to the vaccines themselves, vaccine verification can be used to help prevent outbreaks in the workplace in the future.

Do I need a vaccine passport if I live in California?

Not exactly. As The Los Angeles Times reported, the state effectively encourages sites to require proof of vaccination, as they are allowed to bring in more people if they do.

But state officials have insisted they won't need them.

So, said Dr. Longhurst, the state has, in effect, "thrown the ball" at private companies.

U.C. San Diego Health is partnering with the Initiative for vaccination data to ensure that whatever digital vaccine verification is required, there is an "open standard" that is consistent and secure wherever you are.

"The worst case scenario is that venues and stadiums all take a different approach," he said.

Dr. Longhurst added that a joint, open approach could also prevent one private company from becoming the sole provider of vaccine verification services, as has been the case for New York, which became the first state in the United States to launch digital health care. certificate called the Excelsior Pass.

A Republican state legislature has introduced a bill that would prevent state or other government agencies from enacting policies on digital health records, according to The Sacramento Bee – but the effort is unlikely to go far.

California Today goes live at 6:30 AM Pacific time during the week. Tell us what you want to see: [email protected]Was this email forwarded? Sign up for California Today here and read each edition online here

Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County and graduated from U.C. Berkeley and has reported statewide, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles, but she always wants to see more. Follow here or further Twitter

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.


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