Several states and local governments already have vaccine passport systems in place. North Carolina, Hawaii and California all have vaccine passport programs.
In North Carolina, the administration of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper recently released proof of vaccination cards. These are not mandatory and are only for fully vaccinated North Carolinians. But businesses can make these vaccine passports mandatory for patrons and workers who want to access their facilities and services.
Hawaii has had its vaccine passport program since early July. This vaccine passport allows fully vaccinated domestic passengers to skip the state's excessive quarantine protocols. The privilege of skipping quarantine acts as a bribe for people on the fence about getting the vaccines and the vaccine passports.
In California, state employees and workers in the healthcare industry have to show proof of vaccination. This can be done using a vaccination card or a verification code obtained from the California Department of Public Health.
New York City is the latest to require vaccine passports. Proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 is now required for New Yorkers who want to dine indoors, visit gyms or go to other indoor entertainment venues like concerts.
"People are going to get a really clear message: If you want to participate in our society fully, you've got to get vaccinated. It's time," said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio at a press conference.
Several states like Connecticut are also talking about implementing vaccine passport programs. But several states have already put up red walls by outright banning the use of these passports.
Iowa, Georgia, Florida and Arkansas have passed bans on the use of vaccine passports. All four of these states have Republican governors and state legislatures fully controlled by the GOP.
Over a dozen other Republican-controlled states have made pledged not to introduce statewide proof of vaccination requirements.
In Congress, Republican Sen. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota is pushing for legislation that will force states that are mandating COVID-19 vaccine passports to also mandate voter identification.
"If states that take federal money for elections feel the need to make residents verify a piece of information as private as their vaccination status just to return to normalcy, then they should have no problem requiring people to prove they are who they say they are when they go to vote," said Cramer in a statement.
Even members of the Democratic Party are coming out in opposition to vaccine passports. Acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey said the city will never mandate that residents show proof of vaccination to COVID-19. Janey said the vaccine passports would be difficult for the city to enforce, and she compared legislation mandating it to Jim Crow laws.
"There's a long history in this country of people needing to show their papers – whether we're talking about this from the standpoint of, you know, as a way to, after – during slavery, post-slavery, as recently as, you know, what the immigrant population has to go through," said Janey.
"We want to make sure that we are not doing anything that would further create a barrier for residents of Boston or disproportionately impact BIPOC communities," she added.
She defended her statement after receiving for comparing vaccine passports to Jim Crow. On her Twitter account, she said:
"Earlier today, I pointed out several hurdles facing communities of color … These hurdles should not be excuses, but we must consider our shared history as we work to ensure an equitable public health and economic recovery."
It is unclear whether any other local, state or federal government agencies will pass vaccine passport mandates. But there are concerns that the growing number of restrictions being placed on the unvaccinated could increase once the COVID-19 vaccines receive the full approval of the Food and Drug Administration.
Learn more about the vaccine passport mandates, and the groups and individuals who are coming together to oppose them by reading the latest articles at Vaccines.news.