Montgomery County leaders to push for regional COVID-19 vaccine passports

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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — Montgomery County is one of the nation’s most vaccinated jurisdictions, but it’s not enough to keep COVID-19 from creeping back into its communities.

Cases per 100,000 in the county have increased about tenfold in the last month, with Wednesday’s number hovering around 75. On July 11th, that number was 8.

Montgomery County responded to the trend, though. Last week indoor mask mandates were put back in effect for everyone, including the over 70 percent of residents who are fully vaccinated.

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich says those who are eligible to get the vaccine but haven’t are part of the problem.

He expressed his support for statewide or regional vaccine passports, but he says it doesn’t make sense if just Montgomery County mandates a vaccine passport.

“If the regional leaders are interested, and I know some of them might be, doing this as a collective action might make all of our residents safer,” he said.

Dr. Earl Stoddard believes passports may be the push the unvaccinated need to get their shots, saying on Wednesday, “we do think people having some of the activities that they like to do be tied to their vaccination status would drive up the numbers in a way that simple messaging would not.”

Officials say conversations surrounding vaccination passports are still very much in the early stages and will be discussed later this week at a Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments meeting.

As for vaccine mandates at local businesses, Hank Dietle’s Tavern in North Bethesda announced Tuesday it will require proof of vaccination with a matching ID for entry starting this weekend.

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