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Will Oregon implement vaccine passports?

The University of Oregon has also weighed in on its stance.

Posted: Apr 7, 2021 3:23 PM
Updated: Apr 7, 2021 6:35 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Several states have shown interest in pursuing digital vaccine passports as a way to vet who enters airplanes, concerts and more.

New York is the first and only state so far that has launched a digital vaccine passport system.

But here in Oregon, state officials are not considering instating a passport system at this time.

Gov. Kate Brown's office said in a statement: "OHA will be reviewing Oregon’s health and safety travel guidance to update it for vaccinated people, but at this point so-called 'vaccine passports' are not an item under active consideration, as there are a number of privacy, equity, and implementation questions surrounding the idea."

State elected officials also weighed in.

"None of my colleagues have brought it up in conversation. So at this point, I don't really have anything to add to that and I don't really understand the point of enacting something like that," said Oregon State Senator James Manning.

"It strikes me as duplicative since when you get the shots, you get a shot record card that if needed is proof that you have had a vaccination," said Oregon State Senator Lee Beyer.

Starting fall term, colleges like Rutgers, Brown and Cornell said they would be requiring proof of vaccines.

However, University of California, Hastings College of the Law professor Dorit Reiss said this may have legal ramifications.

"The main issue for this vaccine is that it's not approved yet. It's under the emergency use of authorization," said Reiss. "Some people will look at that and say that it means you can't mandate the vaccine. The other limits on a university's mandate of vaccines is the American Disability Act that if someone has a medical reason not to vaccinate they would receive an accomodation to get educated despite the medial issue."

The University of Oregon is not requiring vaccinations.

University officials said in a statement: "The University of Oregon encourages all students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated, but does not require vaccinations. The university continues to follow closely public health requirements, best practices and other factors in determining whether vaccinations will be required in the future for those engaging in face-to-face activities at the UO."

Some students at the UO said they think passports would be a great idea.

"The passports would actually keep people in check and see who's lying about [getting a vaccine]," said UO sophomore Isabella Gargani.

KEZI also reached out to Oregon State University but has not heard back.

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