Op-Ed: Vaccine Passports To Aid Return to Normal


Karly Hamilton

Vaccine passports may be required for air travel. Digital illustration by Karly Hamilton ’21.

Michael Young, Journalist

As we near the finish line COVID-19 pandemic, numerous vaccines have emerged, and it will not be long before being vaccinated against the virus will become necessary to return to normal.

In order to travel and participate in large gatherings, it may prove useful for people to display that they have been vaccinated.  New technology that public officials are calling a “vaccine passport” may hold the key to a return to normal.

President Joe Biden’s Administration, along with several private corporations, are working to develop a vaccine passport to help the U.S. ease into the post-pandemic world.

With the display of this passport, people could return to more normal routines without restrictions due to COVID-19.

Schools will need to consider how to implement this new initiative. It is important to have a healthy and safe school environment, but at the same time, COVID-19 vaccination appointments are hard to come by.

Here, School Nurse Beth Escobar says that no decisions have been made about requiring a COVID-19 vaccine for the fall.

“I want to reiterate that no decisions have been made,” Escobar said. “But it’s worth noting that before the pandemic, the School has always required a number of vaccinations for students to safely be on campus and interact with others.”

According to Mass.gov, which permits medical and religious exemptions, “School immunization requirements exist to protect students and members of their community from serious vaccine-preventable diseases by ensuring high vaccination rates. Students in kindergarten through 12th grade are required to be immunized with DTaP/Tdap, polio, MMR, Hepatitis B, and Varicella vaccines.”

On April 19, anyone over 16 will be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines, and from that point on, more and more of the population will be vaccinated.

However, many people, mostly drawing from the far right, are skeptical of these vaccines. Some people have no plans to get vaccinated and are holding out as long as possible.

Others plan to get vaccinated for traveling, despite hesitations about the vaccine. When proof of vaccination becomes necessary, vaccine passports may be a requirement to travel.

While not everyone may be able to receive a vaccine today, this will change very quickly as states move forward with eligibility. It will not be long before vaccinations become a requirement rather than a privilege.

It might be weird to say, but life is getting better.

With time, vaccine passports might replace masks, shaping the transition from the COVID-19 pandemic to the post-pandemic era.