Massachusetts could soon roll out a digital COVID-19 vaccination passport, Gov. Charlie Baker said Monday afternoon on GBH News’ Boston Public Radio.
Massachusetts is part of a coalition of states — somewhere between 15 and 20, Baker estimated — working to develop the technology. Baker displayed his personal QR code, attesting to his vaccination status, to hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan.
“This is my proof that I’ve been vaccinated. It’s easy to access, it’s a universal standard and we’ve been working with a bunch of other states,” Baker said, adding the passport could launch “soon.”
The single QR code, Baker said, “can be used for all sorts of things where people may chooser to require a vaccine.”
But Baker stopped short of explaining how the state government may utilize the passport to impose additional coronavirus-related restrictions. It’s unclear whether Massachusetts retailers, restaurants and other businesses would be expected to adopt the QR code.
Last April, Baker said the state had no plans to launch a mandated vaccine passport system, describing it as a hurdle to getting more residents inoculated.
“I want to vaccinate people,” Baker said at the time. “Let’s get people vaccinated.”
Yet by September, Baker warmed up to the idea, saying people needed an easier way to prove their protection against COVID-19.
“I certainly think it’s going to be an important thing to have here,” Baker told GBH.
New York unveiled its Excelsior Pass over the summer, which offers proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test results. Similar to the CDC vaccination card, the Excelsior Pass contains information on vaccine type, clinic location and date of vaccination, according to the state’s website.
Boston might follow New York City’s lead and impose an indoor vaccine mandate for certain venues, including restaurants and performance venues, Mayor Michelle Wu said on GBH last week.
“We’re following the data very closely, and thinking about every tool that the city of Boston has,” Wu said. “I still very much think that we should be taking all possible action to protect our community members, to protect customers.”
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