“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,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said while speaking to reporters.
So-called vaccine passports, showing that someone has been inoculated against Covid-19, have been touted around the world as a potentially powerful tool in safely reopening countries to mass gatherings and travel.
However, the idea has prompted widespread pushback over concerns due to potential privacy or other civil rights abuses.
The White House has been clear that it would defer to private firms 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 Covid-19 shots, news agency ANI quoted CNN as saying.
“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 added.
The federal government will provide guidance about privacy related to the coronavirus vaccines, Psaki said, though she did not provide a timeline, the report added.
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) had 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.