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Following a Billboard report that Ticketmaster planned to check the COVID-19 vaccination status of attendees prior to allowing them access to concerts, the ticketing giant has denied the news.

"We are not forcing anyone to do anything," Ticketmaster said in a statement provided to BBC News.

Ticketmaster's president, Mark Yovich, originally told Billboard that the company is exploring a plan that would use smartphones to verify fans' vaccination status or a negative test for the virus within a 24 to 72 hour window. However, while the original article noted that Ticketmaster's plan was merely being considered, myriad news outlets went on to report the plan as having been officially established. In their original report, Billboard laid out details of the plan, if it were to be approved.

After purchasing a ticket for a concert, fans would need to verify that they have already been vaccinated (which would provide approximately one year of COVID-19 protection) or test negative for coronavirus approximately 24 to 72 hours prior to the concert. The length of coverage a test would provide would be governed by regional health authorities -- if attendees of a Friday night concert had to be tested 48 hours in advance, most could start the testing process the day before the event. If it was a 24-hour window, most people would likely be tested the same day of the event at a lab or a health clinic. 

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The polarizing news arrived after reports of a vaccine—developed by Pfizer and BioNTech—with a 90% virus prevention rate, according to the companies' preliminary analysis. In its clarification of the purported vaccine mandate, Ticketmaster stated that it does not have the authority to instate policies for venues' entry requirements.

"Ticketmaster does not have the power to set policies around safety/entry requirements, which would include vaccines and/or testing protocols," the company said. "That is up to the discretion of the event organiser. Ticketmaster continues to work with event organisers on all Covid safety measures and it will be up to each event organiser to set future requirements, based on their preferences and local health guidelines."

Source: BBC News

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