For meetings this fall and into 2022, a wave of organizations are mandating that attendees show proof of vaccination to get in the door.
From CES 2022, IMEX America, and the American Society of Association Executives to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, HTLH 2021, and the Las Vegas Raiders football team, many event hosts have decided not to allow attendees the option of showing proof of a negative Covid test.
This approach has been termed the health-and-safety “gold standard” because, to quote a recent article in The Atlantic, “To spread the coronavirus, you have to have the coronavirus. And vaccinated people are far less likely to have the coronavirus—period.” While Covid vaccines aren’t perfect, an event that’s exclusive to vaccinated attendees has only a tiny chance of including an infected person. And because of the protection offered by vaccination, spread is unlikely.
Including unvaccinated attendees breaks that circle of protection. Correctly administered Covid tests have a high rate of accuracy, but only for a moment in time. Consider the attendee who tests negative on a Monday but is exposed to Covid in the airport the next day on the way to an event. On average, Covid symptoms show up about five days after contact, but an individual can infect others two to three days before symptoms start. In that scenario, that attendee could be spreading Covid by Thursday.
The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society pivoted early to a vaccine mandate. A detailed look at the on-site protocols for its August 9-13 Global Health Conference & Exhibition, also known as HMISS21, in Las Vegas is a roadmap for other groups planning to require attendees, exhibitors, speakers, and staff to provide proof of vaccination to attend their events.
Here's our coverage of HIMSS's execution of a no-exceptions vaccinated event as well as legal perspectives on the process:
Vaccine Mandates: 6 Ideas for Pre-Event Communications
Helping attendees understand the reasoning behind and protocols for a vaccination mandate can drive compliance.
Considering a Vaccine Mandate? Keep Your Options Open
Here’s an example of health-and-safety terms and conditions that inform registrants and give meeting hosts flexibility.
How Does Vaccine Verification Actually Work?
HIMSS executives walk through how attendees verified their vaccine status and the show’s on-site registration process.
A Kink in the Vaccination Plan: Supplier Labor
Planners can require attendees to be vaccinated, but vendors are another story.
Vaccine Mandates: A Legal Q&A
Virtual options, attestations, fake certificates: A meetings-industry lawyer addresses your questions around requiring attendees to be vaccinated.