R.I. implementing proof-of-vaccination passport program

R.I. DEPARTMENT of Health Interim Director Dr. James McDonald on Wednesday said he doesn’t think herd immunity to COVID-19 is achievable in this country because “we aren’t willing to adopt that as a concept.” / AP FILE PHOTO/MATT ROURKE

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island will soon be joining other states in implementing a proof-of-vaccination passport program, according to Gov. Daniel J. McKee’s office.

Alana O’Hare, spokesperson for the governor, said on Tuesday that the app-based QR code program is in the works, and being spearheaded by the R.I. Department of Health.

“The governor said that it is being developed and should be implemented in the state soon,” she said.

Joseph Wendelken, spokesman for the R.I. Department of Health, confirmed that, “Rhode Island is in the process of developing an app that would function as a smart health card.”

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The Associated Press reported that Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said on Monday that his state will soon be rolling out the vaccine passport program.

That program would allow residents to quickly demonstrate their vaccine status, with proof of vaccination available through a QR code on a person’s cellphone. The code could be quickly scanned to show the person’s vaccination status.

“It’s a universal standard and we’ve been working with a bunch of other states, there’s probably 15 or 20 of them, to try to create a single QR code that can be used for all sorts of things where people may choose to require a vaccine,” Baker said Monday during an appearance on GBH News.

The Republican governor said he already has a QR code on his phone with his vaccination status.

Baker also said that booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine are available across [Massachusetts], although it may take from 10 days to two weeks to schedule an appointment to receive one.

The state is seeing increased demand for the vaccines, he added.

Close to 19,000 Massachusetts residents have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Cassius Shuman is a PBN staff writer. Contact him at Shuman@PBN.com. You may also follow him on Twitter @CassiusShuman.

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