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Credit: Tobias Arhelger/Shutterstock.com. Credit: Tobias Arhelger/Shutterstock.com.

Immediately after the CDC issued new guidance loosening restrictions for vaccinated Americans, many employers are starting to wonder whether post-pandemic life is nearly in our grasp. After a year of isolation, people are ready to travel, eat indoors at restaurants, attend movies and concerts with friends, and safely return to the workplace. While the prospect is exciting, it is also nerve-wracking for those wondering how we will be able determine who is fully vaccinated. It is also worth remembering that with few exceptions, the CDC has thus far stated that fully vaccinated individuals must continue to follow mask-wearing, distancing, handwashing and other COVID-19 protocols. Employers, nevertheless, are now considering whether digital vaccine passports are the key to returning to normal life and getting back into the workplace.

While the concept of digital vaccine passports might seem like a perfect solution, implementation is muddled not only by administrative feasibility, but the web of legal and business considerations raised if requiring the passport to return to the workplace or enter a business. This article untangles some of these complex legal considerations, including privacy and ethical concerns, offering employers guidance in evaluating their feasibility at the workplace.

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