Chicago to roll out 'Vax Pass' so vaccinated can attend summer concerts

Don't call it a "vaccine passport," city health officials said.

April 29, 2021, 4:53 PM

Chicago plans to roll out a "Vax Pass" next month that vaccinated residents can use to attend events like summer concerts, according to top city health officials.

Dr. Allison Arwady, Chicago's public health commissioner, stressed that the forthcoming pass is not a vaccine passport, nor is it an app that businesses check before patrons can enter.

Instead, it will be more similar to city passes that give residents discounts, free admission to museums or let them skip lines to city attractions, she explained.

While the details have not yet been finalized, "Vax Pass" is meant to incentivize Chicagoans, especially young Chicagoans, to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

"You'll have opportunities to attend music events that are only open to people who are vaccinated," Arwady said during a Thursday news briefing. "Some people might choose to get vaccinated to get access to that."

Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, speaks to reporters, Jan. 24, 2020 in Chicago.
Scott Olson/Getty Images, FILE

The concept is meant to go hand in hand with "Vax and Relax," a city program that will partner with barbershops and salons to encourage people to get vaccinated.

Earlier this spring, New York became the first state to offer digital proof of vaccinations with the Excelsior Pass, a smartphone app that allows fully vaccinated residents to show a QR code to businesses as proof of their vaccination status.

The governors of a number of other states have come out against digital proof of vaccination, with Florida and Texas' governors going so far as to issue executive orders against them.

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