Summer 2021 looks promising – roughly 35% of all American adults have been fully vaccinated, COVID case counts are down significantly, and many states are fully reopened.  In other words, there’s little in the way of risks or restrictions to stop people from gathering in person.

After more than a year of quarantine, there’s an overwhelming demand for in-person events or, at minimum, hybrid events with in-person options.  But there’s little agreement about the right way to bring these events back.  The biggest issue is the debate over vaccine passports.

Internationally, vaccine passports are already taking off.  In Israel, those who are vaccinated must show their “green pass” to access public events.  And many countries around the world are working on similar requirements for international tourists, with plans to open their borders to those who can show proof of vaccination.

But domestically, two opposing schools of thought have emerged.  Advocates say vaccine passports could offer event attendees a sense of safety, an assurance that spending time in a public space won’t put their health at risk.  But opponents argue that the passports could lead to discrimination, exacerbate societal inequities, and encourage criminals to make or sell counterfeit versions.

Planning to require vaccine passports for your next event?  There’s no right or wrong answer, and you’ll likely face criticism no matter what you decide.  If you opt for vaccine passports, be clear about the reasoning behind your decision and create other options (e.g., virtual) for those who don’t have them.  If you decide against it, be sure to put proper health protocols in place so attendees still feel safe.

We may not reach a consensus on vaccine passports, but you can always follow a simple guiding principle – do the right thing for your attendees.