As COVID-19 vaccines become more widely available, a growing number of corporations and countries have begun to consider requiring vaccine passports—proof of vaccination for “entry.” There are numerous legal and operational questions surrounding vaccine passports, says Janice Suchyta, a partner with McGuireWoods whose practice area encompasses health law, including strategic, regulatory and operational advice to health systems, hospitals, academic medical centers, federally qualified health centers, telehealth and other digital startups.

“In theory a vaccine record verification system could quickly and verifiably check a person’s vaccination status,” Suchyta said. “The digital vaccine passport would be accessed using a smartphone application that links the user’s COVID-19 vaccination record to a QR code displayed on the device. The Biden administration has already requested government agencies to ‘assess the feasibility’ of an electronic system that links coronavirus vaccine certifications to other vaccination documents.”