Minnesota Department of Health leaves the door open for vaccine passports

"We don't know yet know if you'll need to show proof of vaccination for things like traveling," the Minnesota Department of Health says.

Stock photo/Unsplash

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) seemed to suggest that vaccine passports are a possibility in a statement earlier this week.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said just eight days ago that he does not want to implement a “vaccine passport” system that requires Minnesotans to carry documentation that they’ve received the coronavirus vaccine.

“I have no intention of doing vaccine passports,” he told reporters, per KSTP. “Our vaccine passport is get the shot. Get the shot, and we get beyond this. So we have no intention of doing it.”

However, the governor’s own health department seemed to broadcast a different message via a statement posted to Facebook just six days later, on April 13.

“We don’t know yet know [sic] if you’ll need to show proof of vaccination for things like traveling, concerts or other activities,” the MDH wrote.

(Image source: Facebook/MDH)
(Image source: Facebook/MDH)

The department also urged Minnesotans to keep documentation of their vaccination status. The post even includes a link to a state website that keeps track of who has been vaccinated, which can be used to obtain extra copies of vaccination records.

This system is called the Minnesota Immunization Information Connection (MIIC) and is designed to make “keeping track of vaccinations easier,” per the MDH. It also “helps ensure Minnesotans get the right vaccines at the right time.”

Presently, the MIIC logs vaccination records based on reporting from enrolled entities like “health care providers, schools, child care centers, health plans, and other organizations,” according to the state. “Participating health care providers view and submit data to MIIC about immunizations an individual has received,” the MDH says.

The system also collects the other data listed below:

This is a screenshot of the MDH website captured on 4/15/2021. (Image source: Screenshot/MDH)

Although the MIIC is not new, skeptics fear the emphasis placed on the role it plays in tracking who has received the COVID-19 vaccine may lead to government overreach.

Meanwhile, some private entities have effectively begun rolling out a vaccine passport system. Many colleges, event venues and workplaces have already begun requiring their students, attendees and employees to prove that they’ve received the controversial injection, the Chicago Tribune and CNBC report.

There is a possibility that Minnesota colleges will require students to get vaccinated this fall, according to KARE 11.