White House: U.S. won't have federal COVID-19 vaccine passport system

BY APD NEWSApr 07,2021 at 14:07

The U.S. will not introduce a "federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential," White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Tuesday.

At a regular press conference, the White House ruled out introducing mandatory federal COVID-19 vaccination passports, saying citizens' privacy and rights should be protected.

"The government is not now, nor will be, supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential," she said. "Our interest is very simple from the federal government, which is Americans' privacy and rights should be protected, and so that these systems are not used against people unfairly."

Psaki also said there would be no "federal vaccinations database" as the U.S. does not have an existing centralized health care system.

The governors of Florida and Texas, Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott respectively, have issued executive orders prohibiting government-mandated vaccine passports in those states.

The orders effectively bar businesses from requiring that customers show a certificate.

"People have certain freedoms and individual liberties to make decisions for themselves," DeSantis said.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem described vaccine passports as "one of the most un American ideas in our nation's history" on Twitter.

Meanwhile, New York has emerged as the only American state to have launched a COVID-19 passport. The voluntary passport was developed in partnership with IBM.

Still not widely used, it is designed to immediately verify whether the carrier has received the vaccine or has recently tested negative for the disease.

Asher Weintraub, 17, was happy to show off the new digital New York state "pass" that he downloaded to his smartphone, which, via a QR code, certified that he was vaccinated against COVID-19.

"I think it is a good thing, you don't have to like provide all (sorts of) forms and documents each time," he told AFP, displaying his code at the entrance to one of the first indoor concerts in Manhattan since March 2020.


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