A vaccine passport is proof that you’ve tested negative for or been protected against certain infections. It can be digital, like a phone app, or physical, such as a small paper card. You can carry it with you and show it if required, like before you go into the office, board an airplane, or visit a restaurant, movie theater, or gym.
The availability of vaccines during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the idea of implementing a vaccine passport system. The concept was that an official registry of who was vaccinated would allow companies to fully open for business to anyone who shows proof of vaccination, thus helping to boost economies while limiting the spread of the disease.
It was a new play on an old idea. For years, people who’ve traveled to certain areas of the world have needed to show papers -- or a medical passport called a yellow card, created by the World Health Organization (WHO) -- to prove that they’ve gotten vaccines against diseases like yellow fever, cholera, and rubella.
Proof of a COVID-19 vaccination has now been added to that list for some countries. While many businesses at one point required proof of vaccination for employees and customers, and some countries banned those who were unvaccinated against the coronavirus, much of that monitoring has eased.