Hawaii Launches Vaccination Passport Program

For about a year now, there’s been lots of talk of “vaccination passports”, which, in theory, would provide a certified way to prove you were vaccinated and/or tested negative for COVID_19. However, protests over the passports have caused the plans to stall, leading the US federal government to say they won’t be creating a national system.

However, numerous states, countries, airlines, and cruise lines are developing their own. Hawaii has become the first US state to implement a digital vaccination passport for travel. Currently, the program is only for residents of Hawaii. They can now use the state’s Safe Travels portal to upload their vaccination results and these can be used to help them skip the mandatory COVID test and quarantine when visiting other Hawaiian islands.

At present, the program is only for Hawaiians partaking in inter-island travel, but the state says that it plans to open up the system for mainland travelers sometime this summer. If implemented, vaccinated travelers from the other 49 states would be able to bypass submitting a COVID test and the mandatory 10-day quarantine when visiting Hawaii. For anyone who doesn’t want to sign up for the program, there could be worse places to be sequestered for 10 days than the beaches of Hawaii, right?

Hawaii Governor, David Ige, says that creating a system to process information from people all over the country will take some time. According to Ige, “I think I’ve heard there’s at least 65 government databases and then a whole bunch of provider databases that have vaccination records. So a lot of companies are working on trying to bring that all together.”

What this means is that, sadly, there is no federal database to prove someone’s vaccination status. Instead, individual state agencies and numerous pharmacies are creating their own databases, which will have to be individually looked at depending on the state the traveler lives in. Ige said that most likely, Hawaii will begin partnering with one state or one pharmacy, such as California or CVS, to start a national log of vaccination information. So, while technically the Safe Travels program will begin opening up for mainland travelers this summer, it could be a while before you are able to partake in it.

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