Boston Globe Editorial Board – A traveler shows up at an airline gate, claiming that she’s been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and thus can fly safely to a country that requires that visitors be inoculated.

How, exactly, can an airline — or hotel, or any number of other businesses that need to worry about the vaccination status of their customers — be sure?

Solving the problem is one of the key steps on the road to reopening the global economy. And as controversial as they’ve become, “vaccine credentials” that allow individuals to show they’ve been vaccinated should be part of the answer — as long as careful safeguards are included.

How, or if, to certify vaccinations has become a more pressing concern as more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19. Uncertainty remains about whether and when the country will reach herd immunity — the point at which a large enough percentage of people become immune that transmission of the virus peters out.

The lack of clear data about how coronavirus immunity works, the emergence of new variants, and lingering reluctance among some Americans to get vaccinated are among the factors that may stand in the way of achieving herd immunity. Until then, the reality may be that Americans will have to learn how to travel, fully reopen the economy, and live with the virus before we’re able to live without it.

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