HONOLULU (KHON2) — State officials are moving toward issuing some type of vaccination passport to travel in and out of Hawaii as thousands of Hawaii residents get vaccinated against COVID-19 every day.
The passport could come in the form of an app or be as simple as the vaccination card people receive after being vaccinated.
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Lt. Gov. Josh Green says the state can have travelers use the vaccination card as proof while waiting for an app to be ready. Officials at the airport can check them to see if they are authentic.
“You would have a company that would do spot checking and certainly, you can check the card itself and make sure that it looks legitimate and so on,” said Green.
He says not many people would be willing to fake a vaccination card while knowing they could be fined up to $5,000 and spend one year in prison.
“I think if people are gonna show their card for a trip, it’s gonna be very rare that someone goes to that length and put themselves kind of in jeopardy to just have a vacation,” said Green.
He says the state is ultimately looking to work with a local company called First Vitals to create an app that shows proof of vaccination.
“They would be able to verify the health record, they would then encrypt it so people can’t steal someone’s health record. Although really, all it is is whether you got vaccinated or not and your name and the date it occurred,” said Green.
Those who are fully vaccinated will get a QR code on the app if the record shows that it has been at least two weeks since their last shot. Tourism officials say it will not only bring in more visitors but boost inter-island travel among residents.
“That’s what we see, families that haven’t seen each other for a while that live in Kauai, Maui, Hawaii Island, Oahu. And this will allow that kind of travel to take place without the additional cost of being tested,” said Mufi Hannemann, president and CEO of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association.
Green says Hawaii is administering up to 10,000 doses of the vaccine every day, so it is safe to move forward with this proposal.
“I would love to pilot it in mid-April with the cards at least for inter-island travel. I think that makes a lot of sense. It would immediately empower probably about half of our travelers inside the islands to travel safely,” he said.
It would ultimately be up to the governor with input from the mayors.