Healey on vaccine passports: Still too soon to say

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (SHNS) – With more employers, theaters and other businesses requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination, Attorney General Maura Healey said Monday it was too soon to know whether a more formal vaccine passport system would be necessary to prevent people from forging vaccine cards.

“I want people to know if you run into an issue with fake vaccination cards report it to my office and we’ll take action,” Healey told host Margery Eagan during an interview on GBH’s “Boston Public Radio.” Eagan asked Healey whether the Democrat thought it would be necessary for the Registry of Motor Vehicles to begin producing vaccine verification cards, similar to drivers’ licenses, that would be harder to replicate than the paper cards currently handed out to vaccine recipients.

“Let’s just wait and see how prevalent this is,” Healey said. “That’s why I say report it to my office. If certain things need to be designed or systems created then I think we should be open to doing that. I just don’t have a sense right now, to be honest, Margery, of how pervasive this is as a problem.”

Gov. Charlie Baker in April seemed cool to the idea of developing a vaccine passport when large portions of the population still had not been declared eligible for a vaccination. At the time, New York City businesses and venues like Madison Square Garden were moving ahead with a passport system. Baker in March also said he thought the idea was worth considering, but would function better if the federal government set up a national framework. “Having 50 states doing 50 different things on this could get pretty complicated,” Baker said.

Both Baker and Healey have announced vaccine mandates for state employees under their authority, and Healey said Monday she did not believe it was too onerous to ask workers to show proof of their vaccination. She did not say if her office was taking any steps to ensure vaccine cards are not forged.

“I have my card. You have your card. As with everything with COVID, we’ve got to be nimble and ready to act and I just hope that people don’t go down that road, because, again, you’re putting other people at risk and that’s an incredibly selfish thing to do,” Healey said.

Sen. Barry Finegold and Rep. Linda Dean Campbell, the co-chairs of the Legislature’s new Committee on Advanced Information Technology, the Internet, and Cybersecurity, wrote to Baker and the White House four months ago urging them to work together to develop a framework for “vaccine passes.”

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