Gov. Charlie Baker said Wednesday that it's too early for Massachusetts to start thinking about "vaccine passports" or making COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for state employees, saying instead that the state needs to concentrate on getting as many people as possible vaccinated voluntarily.
"Let's focus on getting people vaccinated," Baker said, who repeatedly told reporters that there is no plan in Massachusetts for a passport-style system.
"I really think the focus for us and for the commonwealth generally should be on getting everybody who wants to get vaccinated vaccinated as quickly as we possibly can. There's plenty of time to talk about some of this other stuff," Baker said during the press briefing in Revere.
The governor was asked if Massachusetts should follow states like New York that have adopted "vaccine passport" programs for residents to prove they've been inoculated. New York's "Excelsior Pass" program is a state-run digital identification system to show proof of vaccination.
Baker said such a system would create "a barrier before people have even had an opportunity to be eligible to be vaccinated."
The governor added that it's "perfectly appropriate" for people to have conversations about "other issues," like proof of vaccination and mandates from employers, colleges and universities to require vaccines.
Baker gave his daily pandemic press briefing from the Oceanside Events Center in Revere, an event space that's been converted into a vaccination clinic by East Boston Neighborhood Health Center.