Hawaii becomes second state to introduce Covid vaccine passport

Programme allows residents to travel between islands without receiving a negative Covid test

Danielle Zoellner
New York
Wednesday 12 May 2021 20:39

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Hawaii has rolled out an inter-island vaccination passport for locals, making it the second state to implement a Covid-19 vaccine verification programme in the US.

The programme allows for residents who’ve received the Covid-19 vaccine to travel between islands without needing to provide negative tests or entering into a quarantine period, Hawaii News Now reported on Tuesday.

Only residents who were fully vaccinated at one of the clinics on the islands would be allowed to participate in the programme since the vaccination information was easily accessible by the state government.

But the governor said it was his hope the programme could extend to out-of-state travellers and others in the coming months.

“We don’t have a firm timeline on trans-Pacific. The challenge is about verification – about vaccination done in other states,” Governor David Ige, a Democrat, said. “We’ve been working with a couple of other private sector partners about working to get access to the state vaccination records, and we believe that that would help them to get vaccination records in other states as well.”

Residents can use the vaccination programme starting two weeks after they’ve received their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccine, and two weeks after receiving the single dose of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine.

As of Tuesday, 39 per cent of Hawaii’s population was fully vaccinated against the novel virus.

Residents utilising the programme to travel between islands can upload their vaccination card to the state’s Safe Travels website or bring their vaccination card to the airport. For people traveling into Hawaii, they will still be required to provide a negative Covid-19 test upon arrival to avoid the 10-day quarantine.

This makes Hawaii the second state to implement a vaccination registration programme for residents.

New York state was the first to announce its Excelsior Pass, which the state government developed in collaboration with IBM.

The state-run programme allows residents to upload their vaccine cards as proof they’re vaccinated. The pass has already been used by sports clubs like the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets as proof a fan is vaccinated before they’re allowed to attend a game.

Other states like Illinois have also announced plans to potentially implement a vaccination verification programme.

Vaccination passports, or verification of Covid vaccines, has sparked backlash among some Americans who feel the requirement impedes on their personal freedoms.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, signed legislation earlier this month that would prohibit Covid-19 vaccine passports from being required by state agencies.

“In Florida, your personal choice regarding vaccinations will be protected and no business or government entity will be able to deny you services based on your decision,” Mr DeSantis said when announcing the legislation.

Other Republican state governors have taken similar stances on the issue.

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