The Biden administration is currently working on introducing a vaccine-passport program, according to White House officials.
The Washington Post first reported this story on Sunday. The Biden administration, in partnership with private firms, is looking to have Americans show proof of vaccination as individuals and businesses emerge from the lockdown. Across the globe these vaccine passports are being touted as a way to return to normal while being able to contain the spread of COVID-19. In the United States however, this program has been criticized as “un-American” by some. Biden is looking to these passports to reach his administration’s goal of emerging from lockdown by Summer. As of now it is believed that these will be free on people’s smartphones. Vaccinated Americans will be able to flash a scannable code. People without smartphones could still print out the cloud on paper.
According to a Forbes report, New York has already offered an app called the “Excelsior Pass” which will allow New Yorkers to provide proof of vaccination where they go. The app also serves to allow citizens to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test. Currently the White House coronavirus czar Jeff Zients is working with various government agencies to get this program set up. “Our role is to help ensure that any solutions in this area should be simple, free, open-source, accessible to people both digitally and on paper, and designed from the start to protect people’s privacy,” Zients said.
One of the major critics of the program, Brian Castrucci, the head of the Maryland based de Beaumont Foundation, said that “If it became a government mandate, it would go down a dark road very quickly.” His foundation is currently researching why some Americans are skeptical of the vaccine. “[The passport] becomes a credential. It becomes a ‘needing your papers’ if you will. That could be dangerous — and it could turn off people.” Many Americans raise question of the authority to enforce a vaccine. Dr. Anthony Fauci stated last February that even with the vaccine, social distancing and mask wearing would still be necessary. “Currently, we do not have enough data to be able to say with confidence that the vaccines can prevent transmission,” Fauci said. “So even if vaccinated, you may still be able to spread the virus to vulnerable people.” Statements like this have led many Americans to question the purpose of getting vaccinated.
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