Fauci says federal government won't mandate vaccine passports

President BidenJoe BidenBiden and Harris host 'family' Hanukkah celebration with more than 150 guests Symone Sanders to leave the White House at the end of the year Overnight Defense & National Security — Senate looks to break defense bill stalemate MORE’s chief medical adviser Anthony FauciAnthony FauciFauci says he 'felt really badly' about 'difficult choice' on travel bans Overnight Health Care — Presented by March of Dimes — Supreme Court weighs abortion restrictions Mask mandates on transit expected to be extended into March: report MORE said in a Monday podcast that the federal government will not mandate passports that show proof of COVID-19 vaccinations.

But the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told the “Politico Dispatch” podcast that he expects certain businesses and educational institutions may require them.

"I doubt that the federal government will be the main mover of a vaccine passport concept," he said. "They may be involved in making sure things are done fairly and equitably, but I doubt if the federal government is gonna be the leading element of that."

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Fauci said “individual entities,” such as theaters and universities, might take the lead on vaccine requirements and implement their own policies.

"I'm not saying that they should or that they would, but I'm saying you could foresee how an independent entity might say, 'Well, we can't be dealing with you unless we know you're vaccinated,' ” Fauci said. “But it's not going to be mandated from the federal government.”

The debate over digital or physical vaccine passports has been growing in recent weeks as the U.S. starts to transition into post-pandemic life.

Fauci’s comments are in line with what other administration officials have said recently, with White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiSymone Sanders to leave the White House at the end of the year GOP sets back Biden's vaccine mandates amid omicron Fauci 'not aware' Trump tested positive for COVID-19 days before 2020 debate MORE saying last week that there will be “no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisDemocratic frustration growing over stagnating voting rights bills A sad reality: In a season of giving, most will ignore America's poor Walt Disney World pauses vaccine mandate after DeSantis signs new legislation MORE (R) signed an executive order last week banning government entities from giving out vaccine passports to residents and prohibiting businesses from mandating customers provide proof of vaccination to receive services.

New York, on the other hand, launched the Excelsior Pass last month, which uses a QR code on a phone app to verify proof of vaccination. The European Union also released a proposal for vaccine passports that would allow travelers to cross country borders without having to quarantine.

Republican strategists and operatives told The Hill that they plan to highlight the vaccine passport debate in an effort to win over midterm voters who are concerned about government overreach.