Vaccine Passport Policies and Technology Conferences: United States, Europe, Asia and More

If you’re seeking to attend face-to-face technology conferences in 2022, you may need a so-called COVID-19 “vaccine passport” to navigate the travel industry (airports, airlines, trains, hotels, etc.), and to enter certain conference centers, stadiums and concert venues in various countries and U.S. states.

What exactly are vaccine passports? The short answer involves a document — either analog or digital — that verifies your COVID-19 immunization status. The vaccine passport, in theory, will allow inoculated people to more freely travel, shop, dine and meet locally, nationally and internationally.

Still, vaccine passports also raise potential privacy, data security, equality and ethics concerns. As a result, some political leaders are pushing back and introducing legislation to ban vaccine passports. Moreover, some governments are seeking to ease or eliminate vaccine passports.

This blog, updated regularly, tracks the status of vaccine passports worldwide, the technology involved, problems they strive to solve, potential ethical concerns, and associated legislation.

Here are the latest updates sorted alphabetically…

California (United States): Multiple updates…

  • Tomás Aragón, director of the California Department of Public Health, said the state is interested in developing standards for a vaccination passport system that would be developed by the private sector. Source: San Francisco Chronicle, April 4, 2021.
  • The Orange County Health Care Agency plans to launch a vaccine passport pilot program in April 2021, though some critics are pushing back against the plan. Source: ABC News, April 13, 2021.
  • California will not require an official vaccine passport for residents when it lifts social distancing requirements and capacity limits on June 15, Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly announced. Source: The Mercury News, May 23, 2021.
  • The state has no plans to institute a “vaccine passport” system, Governor Gavin Newsom said, again calling such a program unnecessary if more people get the shots. But he left the door open for possible new statewide health restrictions if cases continue spiking and hospital space becomes threatened. Source: ABC News, July 21, 2021.

Canada: Multiple updates…

  • Health Minister Patty Hajdu was asked whether Canada would be taking part in a vaccine passport program for international travel, as has been discussed with other countries. “Absolutely,” Hajdu said. “First of all, Canadians need to be able to have the right kind of certification for international travel.” Source: WXYX, May 2, 2021.
  • Quebec plans to implement a vaccine passport system by September 2021. Source: Global News, July 8, 2021.
  • The Toronto Region Board of Trade is calling on the Ontario government to introduce a vaccine passport system for non-essential business activity, as European nations like France begin to make vaccine passports a part of daily life. Source: Campbell River Mirror, July 13, 2021.
  • A Quebec vaccine passport system could require Quebecers to show proof of vaccination to access some non-essential services. The move to introduce the passport has the full support of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Source: Peace Arch News, August 5, 2021.
  • Any vaccine passport for Ontario residents will have to be led by the federal government, according to Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli. Source: The Sault Star, August 6, 2021.
  • The country is preparing a COVID-19 vaccine passport for international travel. The rollout is expected in the fall of 2021, though an exact date and details are pending as of this writing. Source: Newsweek, August 11, 2021.
  • The Canadian government will soon require all air travelers and passengers on interprovincial trains to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Source: CNBC, August 13, 2021.
  • Canada will unveil plans on October 21, 2021, for a vaccine passport, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau laying out how the proof-of-vaccination method will be implemented. SourceVancouver Sun, October 21, 2021.
  • Canada’s federal government, as expected, unveiled on its long-promised standardized vaccine passport for COVID-19, although it remains unclear when the passport will launch. Source: Coast Reporter, October 21, 2021.
  • Quebec’s vaccine passport will soon require three doses. The passport is required to enter government alcohol and cannabis retailers, as well as restaurant dining rooms, bars, and other environments that are presently closed.  Source: CTV News, January 12, 2022.
  • Quebec health minister Christian Dube has floated the idea of suspending the vaccine passport program, depending on infection rates — but not everyone is on board. Source: CVT News, February 13, 2022.
  • Ontario has lifted vaccine passport rules for travelers arriving in Canada. Source: CTV News, February 27, 2022.
  • In Quebec, it is no longer necessary to show a vaccination passport to enter restaurants, movie theaters, bars and other public places. Source: CTV News, March 12, 2022.

Connecticut (United States): Multiple updates…

  • Could a digital COVID-19 vaccine passport be coming to Connecticut? The Lamont administration is considering the idea, similar to New York’s Excelsior Pass. Source: NBC, September 14, 2021.
  • . Connecticut Vaccine Passport: Connecticut is getting ready to roll out a digital vaccine health card. Some call it a passport, but the governor says it’s not mandated by the state. However, businesses can require proof of vaccination. The app is called Smart Health. There is a contract with a company called Envision, which is being paid $60,000, to build a program and maintain it. Source: WFSB, December 17, 2021.

Disney Cruise Line: Disney Cruise Line has joined Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian in planning to require COVID vaccines for passengers 12 and older. Source: The Miami Herald, August 24, 2021.

Estonia: The Republic of Estonian Government announced it had gone live with VaccineGuard to support the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and extend its vaccination program with secure and internationally verifiable certificates ensuring the attestation of reliable vaccination with authentic vaccines. Source: Vax Before Travel, April 30, 2021.

European Union: Multiple updates…

  • Two of Europe’s biggest airlines, British Airways and budget carrier Ryanair Holdings, have started allowing fliers to provide Covid-19 vaccination and test-result details alongside personal data, like passport numbers and visa information, during bookings. The airlines say the move will eventually help passengers show they have been inoculated when landing at destinations that have started to welcome vaccinated travelers. Source: The Wall Street Journal, March 17, 2021.
  • Airlines are resisting early European Union plans that could push some of the costs and responsibility for implementing vaccination passports onto the industry. The EU is moving ahead with plans to roll out a “Digital Green Certificate”—a document to store Covid-19 information such as vaccination records and test results. Governments, airports and airlines hope that will spur travel across the bloc by making it easier to check if passengers have been inoculated. Source: The Wall Street Journal, April 3, 2021.
  • American tourists who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be able to visit the European Union by mid-2021, the head of the bloc’s executive body said. Source: The New York Times, April 25, 2021.
  • Here’s a closer look at how the European Union developed a vaccine passport. Source: TechHQ, June 2, 2021.
  • The European Union’s digital vaccine passport system is now live in seven countries, ahead of a full launch for all 27 member states on July 1. Source: MIT Technology Review, June 2, 2021.
  • The International Air Transport Association (IATA) urged countries around the world to adopt the European Union’s Digital Covid Certificate as the global standard for vaccine certification. Source: Bloomberg, August 26, 2021.
  • The European Commission said COVID vaccine certificates in the bloc would only be valid for nine months without a booster shot. Source: DW, December 21, 2021.

Florida (United States): Multiple updates…

  • Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order banning the use of Covid-19 passports in the state. The order prohibits any government entity from issuing vaccine passports and blocks businesses from requiring any such documentation. DeSantis cited freedom and privacy concerns as the primary basis for the action, arguing that the implementation and enforcement of vaccine passports would “create two classes of citizens based on vaccinations.” Source: CNN, April 3, 2021.
  • A House committee approved a proposal that would limit local emergency orders and make permanent Governor Ron DeSantis’ executive order barring COVID-19 “passports” that would show people have been vaccinated. Source: The Orlando Sun Sentinel, April 19, 2021.
  • The Florida House approved a measure that would limit local emergency orders and make permanent Governor Ron DeSantis’ executive order barring COVID-19 vaccine passports. Source: Fox 13, April 28, 2021.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line could bypass Florida ports because of the state’s new edict banning businesses from requiring patrons to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19. Source: CBS News, May 7, 2021.
  • More cruise lines are getting the green light to enter the test cruise phase, but a dispute with Florida’s governor over vaccine passports could keep ships from setting sail in Florida this summer. Source: NBC, June 2, 2021.
  • Norwegian Cruise Lines is suing Florida after the state banned vaccine passports, saying it cannot safely resume sailings without ensuring its passengers and crew are vaccinated against COVID-19. Source: ABC News, July 13, 2021.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line argued to a federal judge on August 6, 2021, that Florida had banned “vaccine passports” to score political points and said the company should be allowed to require proof of COVID-19 shots from passengers when it sails from the state in August 2021. Source: Reuters, August 6, 2021.
  • A federal judge on August 8 sided with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings in a constitutional challenge to Florida’s ban on so-called “vaccine passports,” clearing the way for the company to require passengers to show documentation that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Source: WFSU, August 9, 2021.
  • Disney Cruise Line has joined Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian in planning to require COVID vaccines for passengers 12 and older. Source: The Miami Herald, August 24, 2021.

France: Multiple updates…

  • The country has started to trial short flights with a tracing app updated to host records of shots and tests, on short flights. Source: Bloomberg, April 28, 2021.
  • Multiple protester groups are united against France’s new system of vaccine passes, which was announced with much fanfare by the government on July 12 and is gradually coming into effect. Source: The New York Times, August 3, 2021.
  • Firefighters led a protest in Marseilles, France, two days before the nation’s vaccine passport policy goes into effect on August 9, 2021. The policy calls for people to be vaccinated in order to use public transportation or attend public venues including cinemas and cafes. Source: Newsweek, August 7, 2021.

Continue to page two for more vaccine passport updates from various countries, states and organizations. Updates sorted alphabetically.

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    Stuart Crawford:

    Let’s keep this in mind, everyone!! These vaccines have not received any formal FDA approval for regular use. They are still for emergency use only. I am neither pro nor against vaccines. I am pro-choice of the individual and the business.

    Joe Panettieri:

    Hey Stuart: Thanks for your readership and note. We mention your point in a related list of companies that now require on-site/in-office employees to have covid-19 vaccinations.

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