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Likely Legal, 'Vaccine Passports' Emerge as the Next Coronavirus Divide


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Travelers in February at Ronald Reagan National Airport near Washington.

Can businesses require employees or customers to provide proof digital or otherwise that they have been vaccinated when the coronavirus vaccine is ostensibly voluntary?

Credit: Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Cathay Pacific airlines, convinced that digital proof of coronavirus vaccination will bring about the return of safe international travel, asked its pilots and crew to try out a new mobile app that showed their vaccination status on a recent flight from Hong Kong to Los Angeles.

New York has rolled out "Excelsior Pass," billed by the state as "a free, fast and secure way to present digital proof of Covid-19 vaccination" in case reopening sports and entertainment venues require proof of attendees' status.

And Walmart, the nation's largest private employer, is offering electronic verification apps to patients vaccinated in its stores so they "can easily access their vaccine status as needed," the company says.

Around the country, businesses, schools and politicians are considering "vaccine passports" — digital proof of vaccination against the coronavirus — as a path to reviving the economy and getting Americans back to work and play. Businesses especially fear that too many customers will stay away unless they can be assured that the other patrons have been inoculated.

From The New York Times
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