National vaccine passport quietly gains momentum and RED states are signing up

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While vaccine mandates are being dropped across the country as COVID fades, digital vaccine passports have quietly gained momentum, even in red states, as a national standard has stealthily emerged that would make them a form of identification for every American.

At least five red states, including Arizona, Mississippi, South Carolina, Oklahoma, and Utah, that have banned “passports” or have opposed them in the past are now developing or have already rolled out their own version of digital vaccine passports.

Twenty-one states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico are now eyeing the SMART Health Card which is marketed through the Vaccination Credential Initiative (VCI). VCI is a global coalition of public and private stakeholders including Microsoft, Salesforce, Oracle, the Mayo Clinic, and other health and tech giants according to Forbes.

More than 200 million Americans have access to downloading, printing, or storing vaccination records via a QR code. When it is accessed, the individual’s name, date of birth, and vaccination information become visible. The other attendant personal data is hidden… at least from most viewers. The code is digitally signed to ensure that the card was issued from a verified location to prevent forgery.

“We’ve seen a notable uptick in states that have officially launched public portals where individuals can get verifiable vaccination credentials in the form of SMART Health Cards with a QR code,” declared Dr. Brian Anderson, who is the co-founder of the VCI and chief digital health physician at MITRE. “The beautiful thing about this is that this multistate coalition is a coalition of the willing,”

The passports are being promoted for travel and entry into venues such as restaurants, bars, and gyms. State officials claim it allows for ease of access to health records but many see it as an extreme violation of privacy and First Amendment rights akin to “papers please.”

California and Louisiana were the first states to roll out the SMART Health Card last June. The number of issuers grew slowly and quietly before picking up steam and prominence.

“We’re starting to see some jurisdictions that had a very strict stance, ‘We’re not going to put any QR codes on anything,’ look at this again with fresh eyes and say, ‘Okay, this really isn’t a passport. This is really just an evolution of a record moving into the digital age,’” claimed Rebecca Coyle, who is the executive director of the American Immunization Registry Association.

“We believe it gives people peace of mind when the folks around them are unlikely to be contagious,” asserted Gus Warren, who is the CEO of Bindle, a health verification app that allows venues to verify the vaccination status of customers.

Bindle has clients in more than 30 states, including blue ones such as California and New York, as well as red ones such as Florida, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, and Georgia. The passport purportedly acts like a Fastpass lane on a freeway for entry into venues.

“The SMART Health Card is such an important development and the Vaccine Credential Initiative has been phenomenal in getting this out there,” contends Warren. “Absolutely, it has become the standard across the U.S. and North America.”

“And at an international level, we are continuing to see intense interest in a coordinated international approach,” proclaimed Anderson. “And that has not diminished at all. I think quite the opposite.”

“The idea of being able to have trustworthy copies of your own health records is not a red or blue state issue,” noted Anderson. “It is an individual empowerment of your own health data. What we’re going to see over the next month is a growing number of red states recognizing and appreciating the importance of empowering their individual citizens in their states.”

Over a dozen states have launched their own SMART Health Card-based portals. Seven others, including Arizona, Mississippi, and West Virginia, are utilizing a third-party vendor, MyIRMobile, to issue SMART Health Cards. Minnesota has chosen Docket, which is another third-party option. Politico is reporting that South Carolina intends to introduce its portal by the end of March.

“This isn’t a passport,” South Carolina’s director of immunizations said to Politico in an interview. “This is essentially a COVID card that people get at their convenience because it’s their record.”

Leftists are arguing that this won’t be the last pandemic and that fact alone justifies national health passports that act as a national ID of sorts. And although a number of red states are also jumping on board the vax pass train, many Americans are strongly against it.

“Today the main threat to our health and economy remains the Omicron variant,” Anderson remarked. “But it’s going to be Pi in a couple months, and it’s going to be the same situation. Yes, we’re going to get to an endemic phase of all of this, but that doesn’t change the need to continue to protect the citizens of a nation from highly transmissible and communicable diseases.”

“Vaccination verification will be increasingly important at an international level,” he continued. “And so if we want to enable all of our citizens from every state to be able to participate in the safe travel across international boundaries and to participate in international commerce, it’d be important for our government officials from every state to enable this.”

“We’re not going to have all 50 states leveraging this approach,” Anderson admits. “But the vast majority of the vaccinated individuals in the US – over 200 million of them – already have the ability right now to go and get one of these credentials.”


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