SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- So-called vaccine passports are creating controversy right now as more of the country reopens and the idea becomes a reality in some places. But on Monday, Arizona joined Montana, Texas, and Florida as states with a form of vaccine passport ban in place.
The White House has said it will not issue a vaccine credentialing mandate. But like mask-wearing, the idea of vaccine passports has become politicized.
"This isn't Republican or Democrat, this is public health," said UC Berkeley's Dr. John Swartzberg, who is an infectious disease and public policy expert. He says proof of vaccines will allow the economy to reopen without compromising health and safety.
"Restaurants, concerts, baseball games, basketball games, a lot of the things that I would enjoy doing with other people, but I'm reluctant to now because I don't know whether they could spread the virus to me, I would do if I knew that they were vaccinated," explained Swartzberg, who feels this way despite being fully vaccinated himself.
Some counties, like San Francisco, are requiring vaccine documentation in certain spaces.
On Friday, for the first time in more than a year, the Warriors will welcome back fans. But in order to get into the Chase Center, people will have to show they are at least two weeks out from their second dose with their actual vaccine card or a photo of it. Alternatively, people can show proof of a negative COVID test within the past 48 hours.
"We're communicating this ahead of time with our fans at as many points as possible to make sure people understand what they're walking into," said Yoyo Chan, VP of government and community relations for the Golden State Warriors.
Kate Larsen: "Will you turn people away on Friday if they don't have a negative COVID test or their vaccine card?"
Yoyo Chan: "Yes."
"It will be required throughout the Warriors season and hopefully we make it to the playoffs for us to extend that program even longer," explained Chan.
What about vaccine passports beyond sports and San Francisco?
"I think for international travel, they're gong to be pretty much a permanent feature going forward," said UCSF epidemiologist, George Rutherford. "Here in California, I think it remains to be seen. If we do really well and get lots of people vaccinated, if we avoid a summer surge, if we avoid a winter surge, the need for vaccine passports may well go away."
In the mean time, UCSF's Dr. Rutherford says he supports San Francisco's efforts to keep the city and its returning crowds safe.
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