Charlie Baker Considering Vaccine Passports For Massachusetts

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Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker wants to make sure the people who claim to be vaccinated against coronavirus are telling the truth, but stopped short of saying he wants a statewide database.

About two-thirds of the state’s workforce will be affected by the vaccine mandate implemented by the Biden administration last week. It says that companies that employ more than 100 people have to mandate vaccines for their employees, or require them to provide a negative coronavirus test every week.

Fake coronavirus vaccination cards exist, and Baker thinks that’s a problem. Baker said he is open to the idea of creating a vaccine passport for Bay State residents.

“We’ve been talking to the states that have developed this and it’s certainly something that …” Baker said, stopping mid-sentence during an appearance on GBH Radio on Thursday. “I mean, I just happen to think that getting to the point where there’s a relatively simple process for people to credential the fact that they’ve been vaccinated will be important for a whole bunch of reasons.”

Since Biden announced his mandate, demand for fake coronavirus vaccination cards has risen. The price is up from $100 per fake card to $200, according to State House News Service.

“The growth of the black market for fake vaccination cards has been exponential,” Ekram Ahmed, a spokesman for the cybersecurity firm that studies the illicit market, told Pew Charitable Trusts’ Stateline publication. “Our expectation is that the black market for fake coronavirus vaccination cards will continue to thrive as more policy requiring vaccination proof gets rolled out.”

Baker also downplayed the possibility of a vaccine mandate for students.

“Keep in mind that we don’t have any ability to vaccinate anybody who is under the age of 12 yet and there’s some discussion about when that might happen. We also won’t have, for kids under the age of 16, I think, a final approval on a vaccine at this point in time. Pfizer’s approved for, I think, for 16 and up as a final approval but we’re still working under emergency use authorizations below that. And Moderna doesn’t have a final approval at all, it’s still an emergency use authorization,” the governor said.

“I think it’s important, when you don’t have sort of a final signoff from the feds, to be careful about how you think about this stuff,” Baker added.

How about if and when the coronavirus vaccine has full approval from the federal Food and Drug Administration for school-age children?

Baker told interviewer Jim Braude that he isn’t giving that much thought.

“You know, I don’t know when those things are going to happen, Jim,” Baker said. “So in the meantime, I’d rather just focus on trying to get more kids vaccinated in those communities with the rules and the standards and the processes and procedures that we have in place currently.”


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