White House Press Secretary on Tuesday stated that COVID-19 vaccine passports would not be created or supported by the Biden administration. This is following many GOP governors issuing executive orders barring them. Texas sought to restrict its development due to privacy concerns.
Vaccine Passports Not Required
According to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, "The government is not now, nor will we be, supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential. There will be no federal vaccinations database and no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential," reported Fortune.
However, Psaki added officials were willing to work with private companies to set standards for how such certificates can be used fairly. She continued as these tools are being taken into consideration by the private and non-profit sectors, their interest is simply coming from the federal government. Their interest is for Americans' privacy and rights to be protected, so these systems are not used against people unjustly.
Through a code, vaccine passports come in the form of an application that confirms whether an individual recently tested has been inoculated. Many lawmakers are not comfortable with the idea. For example, on Monday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, released an executive order against vaccine passports. He remarked that they infringe on citizens' rights, reported Marketwatch.
Psaki on Tuesday made it apparent that the federal government will not mandate US citizens to carry evidence of their COVID-19 vaccination status for traveling and attending events. The so-called vaccination passports have gained leverage as the United States gears up to open up and return to normal this summer, reported Insider.
The plan of action to introduce such vaccine passports has been regarded across the globe to enable the safe circulation of people while fighting the pandemic. But critics say such documents could be discriminatory.
The Biden administration would like to protect the United States citizens' privacy and does not want vaccine passports "used against people unfairly." Several businesses and colleges are looking for people to show evidence of COVID-19 immunization as a way to safely resume pre-pandemic operations. These include entering stadiums, boarding cruise ships, or returning to campus.
The idea of passports was recently floated by a number of actors in the aviation and travel industry; these include Boeing, IATA, and Airlines for America (A4A). According to Psaki, there is wide support for the idea in the industry. However, important privacy questions remain.
The Biden administration is in outstretched discussions with travel industry groups, including the United States airlines, to proffer technical advisory for vaccine passports. This could be used to ramp up international air travel safely.
The key question for airline and travel industry officials is whether the US government will set guidelines or standards to affirm foreign governments that data in US traveler digital passports is accurate. There are thousands of varied US entities providing COVID-19 vaccines. These include hospitals, drugstores, and mass vaccination sites.