Pritzker in favor of passport to show COVID-19 vaccination status

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Wednesday that vaccination passports could be useful in the coming weeks as more Illinoisans get vaccinated for COVID-19.

As an eligible government worker, the governor was in Springfield on Wednesday to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at a mass vaccination site at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. He said he understands there are people out there who are still unsure about the vaccines.

“I’m not asking you to do anything I wouldn’t do myself,” Pritzker said before getting his vaccination.

A total of 5,036,364 vaccines had been administered in the state as of Tuesday, but the Illinois Department of Public Health said it is working with the federal government on possible discrepancies in the actual numbers. IDPH said it is possible the number of doses is underreported.

As for a vaccination passport to prove a person has been inoculated against the coronavirus, Pritzker says a vaccination app would be useful, but should not be required to enter an event or facility.

“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 be to go to that venue or be engaged in that activity.”

In Chicago, fully vaccinated customers with proof won’t count against COVID-19 capacity limits. However, some restaurant owners are unsure about asking for a person’s medical records.

The U.S. is not distributing vaccination passports and there are concerns over falsified records and also potentially violating federal health care privacy laws.

U.S. Airlines and others in the travel industry are voicing support for vaccine passports to boost pandemic-depressed travel, and officials in Europe have been talking about the idea in time for the peak summer vacation season.

Pritzker also said a vaccine hotline is now available for Illinoisans who have trouble booking appointments on the internet. The number is 833-621-1284 and is available from 6 a.m. until midnight seven days a week.

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