Newsom Announces Vaccine Verification System; Denies It’s a Vaccine Passport

by mcardinal

Justin Bullock, FISM News


California is finally preparing to fully re-open California, joining most other states across the country. Governor Gavin Newsom had threatened to keep the state in lockdown for quite some time, even though every other state has plans to open by the end of this month at the latest. Californians were extremely put off by Newsom’s plan and it now seems that he has relented and plans to fully re-open the state.

However, Newsom is also giving businesses and other public spaces and institutions in the state three options regarding how to handle verifying whether or not residents have been vaccinated: 1. rely on an honor system, 2. require patrons to wear masks, or  3. implement a vaccine verification system.

On Friday, Newsom held a press conference where he introduced a version of a voluntary vaccine verification system that the state government would produce and make available for businesses and public organizations.

He said,

As it relates to technology … there are opportunities to make available different strategies to provide a more secure, safe and transparent form of verification, but again, this is voluntary. … We’ll be making some announcements very shortly in that space.

He was also quick to point out that California’s vaccine verification system would not amount to a vaccine passport, which are currently in the process of being banned by the US Federal government. It is largely unclear to experts and lay persons, however, how California’s vaccine verification system would differ in any way from a vaccine passport. As a result a number of legal challenges are to be expected when California introduces a vaccine verification system across the state.

California is set to re-open on or before June 28, 2021. The California state government’s re-opening will also be significantly hesitant and slow, especially in comparison to other states, as some rules will still stay in place and only gradually expire. In addition, while the state government may be lifting pandemic restrictions, many local governments have indicated that they will maintain restrictions and that residents will have to abide by them.