Will Immunization Passports be the New Standard at all Sporting Competitions and Conferences?

Ahhhhh yes. The good ole vaccine topic . . . again.

I know, I know, I’m sure by now all of us have heard enough about the frequently discussed arm jab of the century. But there is one very important topic we still need to discuss: will vaccine passports be the new standard at all sporting events and conferences?

Vaccine records. You had to have them as a child to start school, you had to have them as a young adult to live in the dorms in college, and more times often than not, you must keep a record of them if you internationally travel to be protected from regional ailments or those pesky tropical mosquito bites.

However, some people say that vaccine passports should be kept private, and that access to restaurants, bars, or entertainment centers should be available to all regardless of status of vaccination.

Others argue that vaccine passports are the last thing that should be kept private since one individual not getting a vaccine could have a negative impact on those who are not eligible either via religious reasons or other health reasons.

With stadiums getting back to full capacity, will vaccine passports be required at all future events?

Whichever side you are on, I think we can all agree that we wonder what the future moving forward will look like when it comes to sporting events, conferences, and trade shows.

Several conferences—including our S.P.O.R.T.S. Conference in October—will be utilizing a standard vaccination software where attendees can upload their proof of vaccination before the conference. Proof of vaccination software has always been a staple in medical offices, but in December 2020, new apps for phones were published for people to upload their proof of vaccination. If the person loses their card, they have a virtual “passport” right in their pocket.

Currently, most drugstores that offer the vaccine are also offering an online vaccine passport showing proof of vaccination as well.

If an attendee is not fully vaccinated—either not receiving any dosage of the vaccine or the amount of time after the second dose of the vaccine not reaching the full two weeks it takes to become fully effective—a negative Covid-19 test within the 72-hour time frame will need to be uploaded to the same software. Several conferences are also requiring a rapid test on site before entering the facility, and some have even set aside “quarantine rooms” for attendees who test positive for Covid-19.

For sporting events that are indoor, these same practices have been put into play, as well as elongated tournaments to allow for more sanitization in between games, less of an interaction between athletes and attendees, and allows for more social distancing inside the facility. Indoor facilities can also control how many entrances are open to enter the facility and can also require all patrons to wear a mask indoors even if they are six feet apart. Some indoor facilities are also doing temperature checks upon entering and are even reducing attendees by saying “same-house members only.”

For outdoor events, most facilities are also increasing the duration of the tournament to allow for more social distancing by lessening the number of games each day for each team, and enforcing the six-feet apart rule outdoors. Some complexes have also banned “sunflower seeds,” as the shell is most likely to be spat out onto the sidewalk or grass.

Since there is no set idea or theory as to where Covid-19 will be at in the year 2022, or even the years following it due to its variant nature, it is safe to say that YES, vaccine passports, rapid tests, and on-site testing will most likely be the future of sporting events and conferences nationwide until the pandemic reaches a plateau or has a clear stopping point.