Monday August 30, 2021
On August 10, former White House coronavirus task force senior advisor Andy Slavitt tweeted something snarky, as is his habit: “If people who go out and buy fake vaccine cards get COVID, do they expect someone to put them on a real ventilator?” One of his Twitter followers replied, “We need a way to track vaccination that isn’t on a little handwritten paper card. Something that’s very hard to falsify. You have ideas, contacts, resources I bet… Make it HAPPEN, Andy.” He responded, “Hold on for 3 ½ weeks and you will see.” That was two and a half weeks ago.
Right now, the vaccine passport system is a patchwork, with multiple official and unofficial apps. New York State and New York City each have different apps, Excelsior Pass and NYC Covid Safe. Fraud is easy in some apps; others check your claim to be vaccinated against state health records. Many people avoid apps entirely and just take a photo of their vaccination card with their smartphone or carry around a hard copy. A standardized vaccine passport app would clear up these logistical snags. It would be the green light that prompts cities and private businesses currently considering vaccine mandates to start imposing them.
The Biden administration has said repeatedly that there will not be a national vaccine mandate or a national vaccine database. Jen Psaki said in March that “development of a vaccine passport, or whatever you want to call it, will be driven by the private sector.”