As the number of fully vaccinated Americans increases and the country begins to reopen, the issue of how we stay safe looms large. Many of the original public health concerns still apply as new risks arise. As a top security, protection and surveillance company, we try to anticipate how to assist in securing the industries we serve. While clients like construction site security may decide they do not need vaccine passports, hospitality, education, events and property management clients may determine it makes sense, in order to encourage consumers to return with less anxiety.

The current administration recently stated that although private entities have the right to develop vaccine passport systems, the federal government will not be involved and there will be no federal vaccination credential database. With the current political climate, terms like “passport” should be carefully considered because it naturally brings up fears about personal liberty, forced vaccinations, government overreach and a host of conspiracy theories. As security professionals, Echelon agrees that a laissez faire policy is better for our country in general. However, when clients request any type of common sense Covid compliance enforcement, we’ll provide our best personnel, guidance and support.

At the time of this blog [April 2021] approximately 30% of the country is fully vaccinated and clients are already requesting additional Covid related access control. What was basic enforcement of masking and social distancing compliance,will likely soon add some sort of access control credential check. So, how will the security guard industry play a role in this next step of Covid risk mitigation?

First, remember that systems like hand written cards have been used for decades to prove people have been inoculated against diseases. However,previous cards were on paper and easy to falsify. The most likely solution is an electronic record of vaccination, such as a QR code accessible on your cellphone. An electronic record will need to show which vaccine a person received, what batch, and date of vaccination. Unfortunately, the current system was designed for healthcare professional access, not consumers, so there is no universal way to prove anyone has been vaccinated. However, many governments and organizations around the world are developing and testing digital vaccine credentials in order to bring them to market first.

From a security operations perspective –too many alternate checking systems will cause confusion, making it difficult to access someone’s vaccination status in a real-world access control situation such as an airport, concert or sporting event. Another challenge is that any vaccination status requirement maybe considered discrimination against those who do not have equal access to the shot or those unwilling to get a shot. There also remains doubt about the transmission of the virus after inoculation.

Another industry-wide difficulty is that security guard companies are still recovering from the overwhelming economic impact of the pandemic. As clients cancelled security contracts, firms lost employees who took other jobs, or decided not to return to work until their unemployment and stimulus checks run out. Other security personnel do not want to take the risk of exposing themselves to virus while on duty. Regrettably, some clients assume that security guard companies have guards “sitting on the self”, ready to jump right back in where they left off over a year ago. The reality is that guard inventory will continue to be sporadic as security companies endeavor to meet the growing and immediate need ofold and new clients.