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Green passports, which would allow those vaccinated into crowds, gaining support

Virus Outbreak Pandemic Passports
Posted at 9:29 AM, Mar 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-12 09:34:17-05

There's been a lot of talk about vaccine passports. One country is implementing them on a much smaller scale.

It's called a green passport and it’s used domestically in Israel. The country has the highest vaccination rate in the world. More than half of the population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

As a way to encourage more people to get vaccinated, Israel has started using green passports.

People who have been fully vaccinated can get a certificate. It allows them to enter crowded places like bars, hotels, gyms, and music venues.

Public health experts support the idea of using a green passport in the United States, but it could be a while before it is introduced.

“We're not ready for it today, because half our population is not eligible to vaccinated. So, I understand the discrimination issue, but if you think about it, three months from now, everybody in the United States will have the possibility of being vaccinated, and I think being vaccinated pretty easily,” said Dr. Robert Hecht, a professor at the Yale School of Public Health.

In Israel, the passport is digital and is issued one week after the second dose. It's valid for six months. After that, people must renew.

People with this passport don't need to quarantine if they come into contact with an infected person or if they travel to a hot spot. But everyone in the country still has to wear masks and social distance.

Experts in the U.S. say that although it could be a while until we use green passports here, they'll help open up businesses that have been hit hard by the pandemic.

“I think that that point, it does make sense for states to start thinking, as they relax the restrictions on businesses, making it a requirement for people who want to go into a bar, which is definitely a super spreader type of event, we don't want to keep bars closed forever,” said Hecht.

There is some criticism against green passports in Israel. Not all areas of the country have equal access to the vaccine. Critics say this is an invitation for discrimination.

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Data from The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.