Hawaii officials are making plans for a vaccine passport program, according to Hawaii Lt. Gov. Josh Green.
The program would allow fully vaccinated residents and visitors to travel between the state’s islands without current COVID-19 testing restrictions. It might also allow inoculated transpacific travelers to avoid quarantine and testing rules.
In a March 30 interview with KHON-TV, Green said that the state is working with local company First Vitals to develop an app that will verify the vaccination status of travelers. He said the government might let travelers use their vaccination cards as a temporary passport until the app is ready.
“You would have a company that would do spot checking, and, certainly, you can check the card itself and make sure that it looks legitimate,” said Green.
Hawaii has already established penalties of up to a year in jail and fines of up to $5,000 for people who falsify vaccination cards, making counterfeits unlikely.
“It’s gonna be very rare that someone goes to that length and put themselves kind of in jeopardy to just have a vacation,” said Green.
While Green and other proponents of vaccination passports had hoped the program would be launched in April, Hawaii Gov. David Ige has put the initiative on hold.
During a press conference on April 5, Ige said he intends to keep inter-island restrictions in place until at least May 1 because of a spike of infections on the islands of Oahu and Maui. He also said that waiting “at least four weeks” to launch the vaccination passport program will give most residents over the age of 16 the chance to get vaccinated.
According to Ige, tech companies CommonPass and CLEAR are also working on vaccination passport apps for the state.
“I believe that [CommonPass and CLEAR] will be among the first two companies that actually get a working vaccine passport, and we’re just glad that they are working with us because that means Hawaii would be able to incorporate that much, much ahead of other jurisdictions,” said Ige.
Ige said he believes Hawaii will hit herd immunity in May or June. Until then, he is urging all residents and visitors to continue to wear masks and practice social distancing.