coronavirus in connecticut

Will Connecticut Consider a Digital Vaccine Passport?

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Could a digital COVID-19 vaccine passport be coming to Connecticut? The Lamont administration is considering the idea, similar to New York’s Excelsior Pass.

The state believes it could make it easier for businesses to check on whether someone is vaccinated or not.

If you want to go to a show at the Bushnell, remember to bring your vaccination card or a picture of it on your phone. But some think a new state system could be simpler and more secure.

The concept of a digital COVID-19 vaccine passport might get a round of applause from some, including Courtney Watson, of Bristol.

“I think it would be an awesome idea," Watson said.

“I actually just went to a theater and asked for my vaccination card. It would have been a lot easier if I had just had an app to actually show the facility exactly what I had," she added.

On Monday during a news conference in Rocky Hill Gov. Ned Lamont briefly revealed the state is considering it, though there is no specific plan at present.

Lamont's staff said in an email that this would not be a requirement. It would be another tool accessible for employers and businesses as a way to verify vaccination status.

The governor's staff said residents could verify their status online, they can present a card, and this is being considered as yet another way to show someone has been vaccinated.

“I think, to make it easier for businesses, maybe we ought to have some sort of a validation system. Excelsior is what they're using in New York City, New York State," Lamont said.

New York’s Excelsior Pass said it allows people to have secure, digital proof of their vaccination to download to their phone.

In Connecticut, proof of vaccine requirements are in place at different locations, including at the Bushnell Theatre, Hartford Stage and at BAR in New Haven.

BAR New Haven will now require all of their guests to provide either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.

Soon more places might need to check after President Joe Biden announced a plan last week to force larger employers to require workers to be vaccinated or tested weekly.

“We’ve been flooded since then with a myriad of questions from the business community. The number one at the top is, 'how do we confirm that people have been vaccinated? We don’t have access to the registry system that the government has access to,'" Chris DiPentima, the CEO and president of the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, said.

He said a passport could solve that problem.

Passports have faced concerns about government overreach and privacy. And the New York Times reports the cost of New York’s system – $27 million – is far more than originally expected.

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