Viewpoint: Ditch the term 'vaccine passport' and try these messaging strategies instead 

The term "vaccine passport" has fueled political division, posing the need for an overhaul of the language used to describe COVID-19 vaccine verification, according to Brian Castrucci, DrPH, and Frank Luntz. 

In an April 7 op-ed for CNBC, Dr. Castrucci, an epidemiologist, public health practitioner and president and CEO of the de Beaumont Foundation, and Frank Luntz, a Republican pollster and communication advisor, argue that the term "vaccine passport" has become politically charged and is contributing to vaccine hesitancy among Republicans. 

"The concept of a vaccine passport pushes nearly every partisan political button for Republicans who already don’t trust their political leaders and fear government overreach," Dr. Castrucci and Mr. Luntz wrote. "To them, it’s a threat to the choice and freedom of those who may choose not to get vaccinated." 

When it comes to a vaccine passport, 47 percent of Trump voters were against them compared to 10 percent of Biden voters, according to the op-ed. To get a better sense of Americans' preferences for vaccination credentials, Dr. Castrucci and Mr. Luntz polled individuals to analyze the origins of vaccine concern among Black Americans, LatinX residents, Republicans, rural voters and others. Among the groups, Republicans have the most concerns with the vaccine. 

"... Mistakes in messaging continue to plague the vaccine rollout within certain communities. The question before us is whether we can rise to the challenge right now, put aside the 'I told you so’s,' and move forward intelligently as well as truly united." 

Here are the preferred names Americans gave for a vaccine confirmation document, according to the de Beaumont Foundation's survey of 800 adults March 29-April 1. 

  • Verification: 40 percent 
  • Certificate: 22 percent 
  • Credential: 11 percent 
  • Passport: 11 percent 
  • Permit: 6 percent 
  • Ticket: 6 percent 
  • Visa: 4 percent 

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