The pandemic that started a year ago has forever transformed the way we live today. Fast-forward one year later, there are heated debates about these vaccine passports. As reported by ABC News on Saturday, New York State has created its own digital pass. At the same time, Florida and Texas attempted to ban their implementation, making this topic a partisan issue.

The term "passport" has triggered fears and a notion of big brother prowling too much into people's lives. For instance, a former health commissioner from Baltimore suggested we do not use the word "passport" because it is a divisive phrase that may trigger a backlash against vaccinations.

The document needs to be referred to as is digital or health certificate because the word "passport" is a government-issued document required for traveling and not for healthcare.

The latest developments in vaccine passports in the United States

As vaccine efforts are underway in the U.S., New York has partnered with a private company to offer a service where people need to show proof of the COVID-19 vaccine. This has prompted GOP lawmakers and officials to enact legislative measures against their use in different states across the nation. Besides, they are arguing that these passports are an overreach.

As stated above, passports are a strong word. Instead, they should be called a COVID-based app that verifies proof of vaccination or tested negative for a COVID-19 test.

The requirement to have a negative test or vaccine is intended to prevent any virus's further spread. Second, it allows businesses to operate safely and ensure the situation does not get complications that lead to restrictive measures (curfew or lockdown).

The vaccine passport debate is far from resolved. For example, in Pennsylvania, GOP senators have drawn up legislation to ban vaccine passports, certificates, or travel passes for people who conduct routine activities.

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The Pennsylvania House Majority Leader, Kerry Benninghoff, said, "We have constitutional rights and health privacy laws for a reason. They should not cease to exist in a time of crisis." He explained the passports would start as COVID-19, but where will this measure end up.

On the other hand, Rep. Chris Rabb of Philadelphia (Democrat) stated he sees value in these so-called vaccine passports if implemented carefully.

Vaccine passports trends and usage around the world

Since Joe Biden took office, his position has been clear on the matter. The Associated Press (AP) analysis confirmed, "The administration has largely taken a hands-off approach on vaccine passports."

In the AP news report, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services acting administrator, Andy Slavitt, said he considered the vaccine passports a private-sector project and not for the government.

Across the Atlantic, The European Union (EU) is experimenting with the idea of vaccine passports. The anticipated launch is set for June 2021. Specifically, the EU Commission has pushed for a proposal that will create a Digital Green Certificate.

The goal of this is not to have governments prowl in people's medical history and beyond.

Instead, restore travel amid COVID-19 and for travelers to show proof of vaccination.

In Aruba experimenting with a digital certificate is also underway. This allows visitors from the United States who tested negative against the Coronavirus.

Japan, like other Asian countries, has taken strict border control to curb the virus. Naturally, the conversation has begun about certificates, and how to implement them will also be a challenge.