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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Illinois Department of Public Health says vaccination proof plan in the works

(The Center Square) – The Illinois Department of Public Health is working on a plan to allow people to prove they’ve been vaccinated, but few details have been released.

A spokesperson for the department Thursday said “vaccinated individuals may want to be able to prove they have been vaccinated, especially if they misplace their CDC vaccination Card.”

The department said it is working to provide that service to people, but did not disclose when asked if they’re working with a third party vendor or provide any timeline for such a service.

Last month, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said vaccination passports could be useful as more Illinoisans get vaccinated for COVID-19.

“As long as it is your choice,” Pritzker said. “If people ask you to show that for a particular venue or private venue, they have the ability and right to do that. You don’t have to show that to them. You don’t have to go to that venue or be engaged in that activity.”

Media reports earlier this week indicate groups in Chicago are working to offer electronic COVID-19 vaccine passports.

The NAACP Illinois Conference president said mandating such proof to do normal things in society would violate rights.

“I think that’s an invasion of privacy,” said NAACP Illinois Conference President Teresa Haley. “I think that’s a civil rights violation.”

As of Thursday, vaccination numbers published by IDPH show more than 34% of the state’s population 16 and older, or almost 4 million people, are fully vaccinated. The total number of doses administered is more than 9.1 million.

Pritzker’s modified COVID-19 reopening plan says all restrictions will be lifted when 50% of the state’s population has been vaccinated. It’s unclear what that would mean for whether vaccine passports would be necessary.

“We believe next year if the vaccine becomes more available, and it should, these systems don’t need to be put in place,” said Alexis Hancock, director of engineering with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “We are afraid that these permanent systems will evolve into something else in the future if they mandate such a thing now. It’s creating a divide of who’s been vaccinated and who’s not.”

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