As the raging Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus becomes a more prominent threat, people are warming to the idea of something called a vaccine passport. These passports, which can be either digital or on paper, can be used as a proof of vaccination. A survey done in early June by a travel website, Upgraded Points, showed that ~81% of respondents supported having these passports, while 54% of the surveyed people said airline companies and hotels should require them for service. With the growing risk of the newest strand of COVID-19, many people are divided on whether restaurants, airlines, and other parts of society should require a proof of vaccination, or if they should rely on the honor system.
While the general majority of unvaccinated people would be more likely get the vaccine if it was required in restaurants with indoor dining and to travel internationally or domestically, 17% of the unvaccinated people surveyed said they would be less likely to get the vaccine, with many feeling that it would be encroaching on their everyday life and their rights as U.S. citizens. Florida governor Ron DeSantis put a ban on vaccine passports in Florida, believing that it was an unfair and unlawful requirement, but companies like the Norwegian Cruise Line protested, and eventually ended up winning a court case, allowing them to operate with 100% required vaccination of crew and passengers.
On August 17th, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a mandate on proof of vaccination at places like indoor dining, gyms, and indoor entertainment venues such as night clubs, movie theaters and concert halls. Since then, city data has shown a major decline in new cases and hospitalizations. This tactic seemed to have worked with a vaccination rate of 79% of adults in New York City having received at least one dose, and one of the highest rates of vaccinations in major cities throughout the U.S. Cities around America are looking at the data from New York, and realizing that it may be in their best interest to follow its example.
While the threat of outbreak is ever-present, many states are grappling with the idea of how to best protect their citizens while still keeping people from believing that a mandate would be an infringement on their rights.