Vaccine passports: Private sector will likely take lead; no federal mandate, White House says

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WASHINGTON (Reuters/WFLA) — The White House said it expected the private sector to take the lead on the verification of COVID-19 vaccines or so-called vaccine passports, and would not issue a federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential.

The Biden administration was currently reviewing the issue and would make recommendations, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Monday, adding, “We believe it will be driven by the private sector.”

Japan is gearing up to issue digital health certificates to citizens who have been vaccinated against the novel coronavirus, joining China, the European Union and others that have adopted similar measures aimed at opening up overseas travel, the Nikkei reported on Saturday.

Psaki said the White House was leading an inter-agency process looking at these issues, and would provide guidance in line with several key principles:

“There are a couple key principles that we are working from. One is that there will be no centralized universal federal vaccinations database, and no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential,” she said.

“Secondly, we want to encourage an open marketplace with a variety of private sector companies and nonprofit coalitions developing solutions. And third, we want to drive the market toward meeting public interest goals.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has opposed such a measure and is forbidding local governments and businesses from requiring so-called “vaccine passports” to show proof that customers have been inoculated against the coronavirus.

“We are not supporting doing any vaccine passports in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said. “It’s completely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to impose upon you the requirement that you show proof of vaccine to just simply be able to participate in normal society.”

The governor is also calling on the Republican-led Legislature to consider a measure addressing “vaccine passports” but did not give specifics.

Psaki said the Biden Administration would work to ensure that all vaccination credential systems met key standards such as universal accessibility, affordability and availability, both digitally and on paper.

She gave no indication when the process would be completed.

https://www.wfla.com/news/politics/vaccine-passports-private-sector-will-likely-take-lead-no-federal-mandate-white-house-says/