Apr 21, 2021 - Health

Hawaii announces COVID vaccine passport program for inter-island travel

The view of the windward side of Oahu, from aboard a Hawaiian Airlines flight from Los Angeles International Airport to Honolulu International Airport on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020 above Honolulu, HI.

The view of the windward side of Oahu, from aboard a Hawaiian Airlines flight over Honolulu, Hawaii, last October. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Hawaii will from next month allow residents who've been fully inoculated against COVID-19 to bypass the state's pre-travel tests and quarantine for inter-island flights.

Why it matters: Hawaii is the second U.S. state to launch a "vaccination verification" scheme after New York, AP notes. Many businesses view such "vaccine passports" as key to returning to normal, but some Republican governors have taken steps to block them.

Of note: The American Civil Liberties Union has said if vaccine passports are solely digital it'd "increase inequality," excluding people who don't have phones. It wants them to be "primarily paper-based, decentralized, and protect privacy."

  • Gov. David Ige (D) said at a briefing Tuesday that Hawaii residents could use paper records for the program and that the state was working with private firms that would be accessing people's records to ensure privacy was protected.

What they're saying: Ige noted that Hawaii's coronavirus case numbers and mortality rates were among the lowest in the U.S.

  • Ige said the lifting of travel restrictions for fully vaccinated people "does not apply to trans-Pacific travelers at this point," but officials were working to expand the scheme to other travelers later.

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