Why states are hesitant to launch digital COVID-19 vaccine verification

While some states like New York and Hawaii have rolled out smartphone-based programs for digital proof of vaccination status, more states have banned the digital tools, according to a June 26 ABC News report. 

Hawaii is the only state enforcing some version of a COVID-19 vaccine passport by requiring travelers to upload a photo or PDF of their Hawaii vaccination document or pass a pre-arrival COVID-19 test to avoid having to quarantine for 10 days. 

While digital vaccine verification programs could make it easier for businesses to enforce safeguards and limit outbreaks, it only works if everyone gets on board, Alan Butler, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, told ABC News

"But that only works when you have mass adoption, and mass adoption requires trust and actual buy-in with what the state health department is doing, which is not necessarily present in all states," he said. 

While most large, ticketed events such as concerts in New York require proof of vaccination, most businesses aren't asking. 

"Think of a bar," said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance. "You have four friends that go in — maybe two of them have it, the other two don’t. You’re going to turn the other two away when small businesses are struggling so much?"


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