vaccine passport on mobile phone (Robert Avgustin/Shutterstock.com)

Tracking state vaccine passport initiatives

Since COVID-19 immunizations have become widely available in the U.S., many states have looked to “vaccine passports,” or credentials that digitally store an individual’s official vaccination record on a smartphone that can be used as proof that the holder has received a COVID immunization.

While no states have made vaccine passports mandatory, several have launched their own versions. New York, for example, launched the Excelsior Pass, a technology that takes a secure credential issued by a health organization and either displays it as a QR code, stores it in the Excelsior Pass’ wallet app or enables it to be printed. Louisiana has added a vaccine credential to digital drivers’ license app, LA Wallet.

Other states, however, have outlawed use of vaccine passports entirely, or banned their use in certain situations, such as access to state government buildings.

The federal government has no appetite for rolling out vaccine passports. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on March 29 that there would be no "centralized, universal federal vaccinations database and no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential."

As part of its Pandemic Technology Project, MIT Technology Review is tracking each state’s stance on vaccine passports, noting whether the technology is in active use, under consideration or banned and linking to relevant legislation and sources.

See the full list here.     

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