CINCINNATI — Apps that show a vaccination status on a smartphone, or “vaccine passports,” may be convenient for people who want to prove they’ve had the COVID-19 vaccine, but these passports aren’t gaining any traction in the Tri-State just yet.
Indiana has already taken it one step further and passed a law prohibiting state or local governments from requiring these passports. The Republican-dominated House and Senate voted last month to approve a wide-ranging health care and insurance bill that included the vaccine passport ban. Private businesses are still free to use them.
In Ohio, Hamilton County Public Health commissioner Greg Kesterman said he hasn’t heard yet of any policies directly related to vaccination cards or proof of vaccination prior to participating in certain events. However, he did say businesses could consider vaccine passports as an option.
Nationally, the Biden administration has said it’s already ruled out a national vaccine passport system. In Florida, a more restrictive passport ban does limit private businesses from requiring proof of a COVID-19 vaccine by customers.
Here in Hamilton County, officials say the main focus is still on getting as many people vaccinated as possible.
"I think we're all thinking through how we can make sure that we have as many people vaccinated as possible before we start to have people go back to work and interact with more people than we've been interacting through the pandemic,” said Hamilton County commissioner Denise Driehaus.
She said the county is looking into ways to encourage its own employees to get vaccinated and hoping that private companies will follow its lead.
"I think as policy makers here at the county we do want to try to lead by example," she said. "We're going to try to think of a way to maybe incentivize those that haven't gotten the vaccine to get the vaccine."