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Federal Government Considering Vaccine ‘Passport’

Anyone who has had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is given a printed card with information about a person’s vaccination.  But such a card is easily copied or forged.  In response, the federal government is working on a vaccine “passport” that would be used for travel, work and school as proof of vaccination against the Coronavirus.

Airline travel has begun to pick up and passenger volume could soon approach pre-pandemic levels.   While nothing is definite at this point, there may come a time when you must produce this vaccine passport in order to board a commercial airline flight.  While most people may not be familiar with a vaccine passport, the concept is not new as people traveling to countries with yellow fever must already carry a yellow card, according to Dr. Noelle Bissell, director of the New River Health District.

“It wouldn’t be unheard of if they do start requiring people to prove their vaccination before they travel,” she said.

Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport spokesman Brad Boettcher hopes that the federal government is focused on the security of personal information as they work on development of the vaccine passport.  He also cautions that if the vaccine passport comes a digital app, travelers without smartphones could have a problem.

It’s also important to remember that even if travelers have had the vaccine, it doesn’t mean where they are headed is in the clear.

Boettcher said, “Not all countries globally have the vaccine rollout as quickly as we have it here in the U.S.  Some of these other countries that are behind in vaccinating their populations might be hesitant (to admit travelers) even with the passport.”