Municipal Vaccine Passport Regimes in the United States: A European Import Spreads Widely

18 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2022

See all articles by Paul A. Diller

Paul A. Diller

Willamette University College of Law; Lewis & Clark College - Lewis and Clark Law School

Date Written: March 1, 2022

Abstract

Approximately two dozen municipalities in the United States adopted "vaccine passport" regimes between August 2021 and January 2022. These regimes required public accommodations such as restaurants, cafes, movie theaters, and gyms to check patrons for proof of vaccination against COVID-19 as a condition of entry. Some of these regimes applied to employees of such establishments as well. Most exempted at least some people, including persons too young to be vaccinated and those with religious or medical reasons for being unvaccinated. While most of these regimes have since been rescinded, most mayors and health officials reserve the authority to reinstate them should they deem conditions to require it.

This essay surveys the vaccine passport phenomenon in the United States and categorizes the method by which the various jurisdictions adopted them. The essay shows that the vast majority of cities and counties with vaccine passport regimes adopted them by mayoral or health commissioner order, often premised on the invocation of emergency power, as opposed to by ordinance or administrative rule. The essay concludes by probing the normative implications of such unilateral, emergency local policymaking, as well as its potential implications for policy innovation in other areas.

Keywords: public health, municipal, ordinance, emergency rule, vaccine passport, COVID-19

Suggested Citation

Diller, Paul A., Municipal Vaccine Passport Regimes in the United States: A European Import Spreads Widely (March 1, 2022). Fordham International Law Journal, Vol. 45, No. 639, 2022, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4091014

Paul A. Diller (Contact Author)

Willamette University College of Law ( email )

245 Winter St. SE
Salem, OR 97301
United States
503-370-6595 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.willamette.edu/wucl/faculty/profiles/diller/

Lewis & Clark College - Lewis and Clark Law School ( email )

10101 S. Terwilliger Boulevard
Portland, 97219-7762

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