Why it matters: As an early mover, the EU could help to lead the way for post-pandemic global travel. The bloc is in talks with the US about how to check the vaccination status of American visitors this summer. That is likely to concern ethicists and data privacy experts, who worry that vaccine passports can be used to further entrench inequity. (To read more about why, check out the full coverage of the issues from our Pandemic Technology Project team.)
Dead end? In any case, it currently seems unlikely that vaccine passports will become common for travel inside the US. Several states, including Alabama, Arizona, Florida, and Georgia, have banned them. New York’s Excelsior Pass, America’s first government-issued vaccine passport, has been downloaded more than one million times, but that represents just a small proportion of the 9 million people who’ve been vaccinated, and the vast majority of businesses aren’t using it yet.
Even early movers are ditching them. Israel was one of the first countries to roll out a vaccine passport. Its “green pass” was designed to allow access to restaurants and sporting events for those who could prove they were vaccinated. But as the country’s successful vaccination rollout has driven coronavirus numbers down into double figures, Israel this week scrapped the pass as it moves to open up fully for everyone.