While a number of prominent Democrats are voicing their support for so-called vaccine passports as a way for Americans to verify that they have been inoculated against COVID-19, the White House has made it clear that President Joe Biden is not on board.
The Biden administration addressed rumors of a federal passport program by flatly dismissing any such notion.
“Lots of questions”
As speculation began to grow that the White House was possibly working on such a proposal, White House press secretary Jen Psaki addressed reporters on Tuesday with a direct statement.
“Let me be very clear on this. I know there’s been lots of questions,” she said. “The government is not now, nor will we be, supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential.”
She went on to vow that the U.S. government would not create a database or issue any mandatory vaccine requirements for individuals to verify their vaccination history.
Similar measures are not off the table altogether, as she noted by deferring those decisions to other entities.
“As these tools are being considered by the private and non-private sectors, our interest is very simple from the federal government, which is Americans’ privacy and rights should be protected,” Psaki added. “And so that these systems are not used against people unfairly.”
“Just to go about their daily lives”
Given the private sector’s continual creep into social and cultural issues, it might not be surprising for one or more major corporations to institute some type of system requiring staff and customers to provide proof of vaccination.
In an effort to oppose such plans, at least two red states — Texas and Florida — are taking preemptive measures against private industries and the government. Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott kicked off the week with an executive order declaring that anything resembling a vaccine passport is off the table in his state.
In a tweet on Tuesday, he asserted: “Texans shouldn’t be required to show proof of vaccination & reveal private health information just to go about their daily lives.”
In Florida last week, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis made a similar move, signing an executive order banning state agencies and businesses from requiring vaccine passports and suggesting that such requirements would constitute a privacy violation.
It seems clear that if any public or private entities attempt to enforce a vaccine passport mandate, they can expect to encounter a gigantic bureaucratic mess.