'Vaccine Passports' Being Looked At For More Than Just Travel

The idea of a vaccine passport and digital proof to gain entry to places is the latest coronavirus divide. It’s not just at airports, where proof of vaccination is being considered. Kenny Choi reports. (4/7/21

Video Transcript

- We going to start with a first for travel within the US.

- Instead of a boarding pass, how about just showing your face? Looking live out at SFO, the idea of a vaccination passport is gaining traction, KPIX5'S Kenny Choi with a look at how it could work for air travel. Kenny?

KENNY CHOI: It's not just at airports, where proof of vaccination is being considered. Other venues like baseball stadiums have already implemented the idea of a vaccine passport. It has become a flashpoint as millions more are getting vaccinated.

- So do you have your boarding pass?

KENNY CHOI: Airlines are exploring ways, including mobile apps, that would easily identify who's vaccinated and who's not.

PORTER GEER: I think it'd probably be beneficial. I think it kind of sends a good message to the community on vaccine adoption and then also, like, provides a sense of security for businesses who are engaging with those people who are entering their premises.

- You're going to be the second group to board.

KENNY CHOI: At San Francisco International Airport, United Airlines and SITA Smart Paths are testing biometric technology for some domestic flights on a voluntary basis.

Once enrolled, these checkpoints will scan your face, transferring information and your data, making travel, for the most part, touchless.

DOUG YAKEL: Any purpose for travel where you need to establish or verify identity, this could be used for that.

KENNY CHOI: For now, the check-in system does not ask for or store vaccination status, but the technology can, one day, be used for that purpose.

DOUG YAKEL: Some type of digital health credential will be the next evolution of air travel during this pandemic and after this pandemic.

JEN PSAKI: It'll take a little bit of time for us to adjust and to-- to figure out what exactly is going on, like how secure is everything.

KENNY CHOI: To enter its stadium, the Oakland A's are not asking for proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test. San Francisco Giants fans will have to show vaccinated status or test negative at its gates starting Friday.

JEN PSAKI: As these tools are being considered by the private and nonprofit sectors, our interest is very simple, from the federal government, which is Americans' privacy and rights should be protected and so the-- so that these systems are not used against people unfairly.

- So Kenny, what are the legal experts saying about all of this.

KENNY CHOI: The answer as to whether these vaccine passports are legal for private entities is generally yes, according to legal experts, similar to "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service." But when it comes to local and state governments intervening in certain situations, the answer is a little bit more complicated. We did see the states of Texas and Florida issue similar bans on any type of vaccine passports for companies that have contracts with their states.

- All right. Sounds good. Thank you, Kenny.