The “vaccine passport” era has begun, or at least will begin soon in Bethel, Alaska.
While states, airlines companies and Big Tech are pushing for a federal standard for “vaccine passports,” the small town of Bethel, in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, announced that beginning Monday, only those vaccinated for Covid-19 will be allowed to ride on buses.
As of last week, over 35 percent of the Bethel population age 16 and older had received at least one dose of the anti-Covid vaccine. Bethel is doing what some of the big players are already doing.
Today, British Airways and Ryan Air announced they are starting to allow fliers to provide their vaccination and test results, along with their passport numbers and other personal dates, during bookings. The airlines hope that the move will be able to show various countries and provinces that passengers are inoculated.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Singapore Airlines Ltd., Emirates Airline, and Qatar Airways have been working with the International Air Transport Association, an airline trade body, to test a so-called Travel Pass. “The system, which includes a mobile app, aims to allow passengers to demonstrate Covid-19 vaccination and testing records, while also identifying testing and vaccination requirements for different locations and local testing centers accessible during travel. Ethiopian Airlines said Wednesday it was partnering with the African Union to try out a similar travel pass for intracontinental flights,” the newspaper reported.
Israel has begun issuing vaccination passports for people who want to use gymnasiums and other public facilities.
The question of proof-of-vaccine concerns privacy advocates, who say that as government policy, it raises red flags, but without federal oversight, local “vaccine passport” rules are likely to be discriminatory, confusing, and subject to fraud.
Last month, President Joe Biden issued an executive order asking federal agencies to explore how to create a digital Covid-19 vaccination certificate system.