White House rules out involvement in ‘vaccine passports’
White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday ruled out the Biden administration playing any role in a “vaccine passport” system as Republican governors in particular balk at the concept.
“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,” Psaki told reporters at a briefing.
The White House has been clear that it would defer to private companies if they wanted to implement some type of vaccine passport system in which individuals would have to provide proof that they received one of the coronavirus shots.
“Our interest is very simple from the federal government, which is American’s privacy and rights should be protected so that these systems are not used against people unfairly,” Psaki said.
The federal government will provide guidance about privacy related to the coronavirus vaccines, Psaki said, though she did not provide a timeline.
.@PressSec Jen Psaki on possibility of the federal government supporting vaccine passports: “The government is not now, nor will we be supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential.”
— CSPAN (@cspan) April 6, 2021
Talk of vaccine passports has sparked pushback among conservatives who have raised concerns about potential government overreach that would discriminate against Americans who opt not to get vaccinated and infringe on their privacy rights.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Monday issued an executive order prohibiting vaccine passports, saying a system to track those who have been inoculated against COVID-19 infringes on citizens’ rights.
“Government should not require any Texan to show proof of vaccination and reveal private health information just to go about their daily lives,” Abbott said in a statement.
Abbott’s order came after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) vowed to take executive action to prevent companies from requiring vaccine passports before providing services to customers.
The World Health Organization on Tuesday cautioned that the use of vaccine passports may not be an effective way to reopen global travel, citing the lack of vaccinations in certain pockets of the world.
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