ORLANDO, Fla. - Usually, the only people who see vaccine records are the patient and their doctor but during a pandemic, that is most likely to change. Major companies and organizations are exploring ways to require customers and travelers to prove that they have been vaccinated for the coronavirus.
“We could see RF chips or some sort of electronic evidence, that one has been inoculated,” said Lawrence Walter, Attorney.
For example, Ticketmaster is reportedly looking into an app that shows whether an attendee has gotten the shot. The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is considering issuing a vaccination card to those who get injected and the World Health Organization (WHO) is discussing immunization passports for people who wish to fly.
“From a practical standpoint that’s an easy way to get in and out of stores, in and out of football games or airlines,” said Walters. But he also believes many will view the mandate to show a medical record to strangers as a violation of privacy.
“There does come a point where you’re essentially putting your health status on display and requiring people to reveal certain aspects of their health, so there could be HIPAA privacy issues there,” said Walters. He expects a slew of legal challenges.
Pfizer and the makers of the other leading U.S. COVID-19 vaccine candidates have been cautioning for weeks that the earliest they could seek regulatory approval for wider use of their shots would be late November.
“Ultimately, we will see how the courts evaluate this delicate balancing of privacy interest and public health,” said Walters.
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