Dr. Allison Arwady, Chicago's Public Health Commissioner announced at a press conference this week that the city of Chicago is rolling out a new vaccine passport that will be required for admission into certain events. The "Vax Pass" is part of Chicago's "Vax and Relax" program that seeks to recruit local businesses to offer savings incentives for those who are fully vaccinated.
Dr. Arwady says that the city is not "requiring" anyone to get vaccinated but said that those who are not vaccinated may be refused entry into events as determined by the city's Public Health Commission.
The initiative is specially targeting younger Chicagoans who the Public Health Commission says many have expressed willingness to get vaccinated but claim it is "not the first on the list of things to do" so the city is seeking "creative ways" to encourage them to get the jab.
Vaccine passports have received lots of backlash with 8 states either banning them or pledging to ban them. Florida and Texas are the largest states to ban the use of vaccine passports while many smaller states like Idaho and Nebraska have followed suit.
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said that the state will not participate in vaccine passports because vaccine passports are a violation of "two central tenets of the American system: freedom of movement and healthcare privacy." Tenessee Gov. Bill Lee said of vaccine passports, "COVID-19 vaccines should be a personal health choice, not a government requirement."
New York became the first state to adopt a statewide vaccine passport called the "Excelsior Pass" that displays vaccine information along with negative test results. According to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office, "Excelsior Pass Can Be Used by Participating New Yorkers at Theaters, Major Stadiums and Arenas, Weddings Receptions, Catered Events & Other Events in Accordance with New York State Guidelines."