Domestic COVID-19 Vaccine Passports: Policy Options to Build Trust and Curtail Inequity

COVID-19 vaccine credentialing programs, commonly referred to as vaccine passports, are one tool of many that U.S. policy makers might consider to encourage vaccine uptake. But how do we roll out these programs without furthering inequality?

Community Partnership

Partnering with community representatives can help to identify community needs, build trust, and guide equitable design.

Medical Accommodations

Individuals who cannot be vaccinated should receive accommodations to access sites that require digital vaccine credentials.

Non-Medical Accommodations

Not everyone with access and ability to receive the COVID-19 vaccines will want to do so. Designing policies to protect individual autonomy, whenever possible, can help alleviate some of these concerns

Monitoring and Discrimination

Policing of vaccine status could put the safety and wellbeing of already overpoliced, racialized communities at even greater risk. Safeguards should be in place to reduce discrimination on the basis of age, gender, sexuality, income, race, ethnicity, or ability that comply with all existing anti-discrimination federal and state laws.

Interoperability and Accessibility

A decentralized model for vaccine passport programs creates a possibility that individuals will need to download multiple apps to go about daily living activities, further disenfranchising low-income individuals.

Empowering Individual Privacy

To build public trust in digital vaccine credentialing programs, their design must account for data privacy and security to protect sensitive personal information. 

Alternatives for Consideration

Asking the question of how to implement vaccine passports should not replace the question of where and when they should be implemented.