The Biden administration has partnered with companies to develop a "vaccine passport," which would track Americans who have been vaccinated for COVID-19, and give them access to businesses, events, and travel.
"The Biden administration and private companies are working to develop a standard way of handling credentials — often referred to as 'vaccine passports' — that would allow Americans to prove they have been vaccinated against the novel coronavirus as businesses try to reopen," the Washington Post reported on Sunday.
"The effort has gained momentum amid President Joe Biden's pledge that the nation will start to regain normalcy this summer and with a growing number of companies — from cruise lines to sports teams - saying they will require proof of vaccination before opening their doors again," the report stated.
"The administration's initiative has been driven largely by arms of the Department of Health and Human Services, including an office devoted to health information technology, said five officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the effort," the report claimed.
The report revealed that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will assist with the vaccine passport rollout. The Washington Post claimed the CDC is already working with the World Health Organization in developing "digital vaccination certificates."
Earlier this month, New York launched its coronavirus vaccine passport program called the "Excelsior Pass," which was developed by IBM. As TheBlaze reported, the Excelsior Pass would allow New Yorkers to show an electronic passport on their phone in the form of a unique QR code that is scanned by businesses to confirm COVID-19 vaccinations or recent negative COVID tests before they will be permitted to enter theaters, stadiums, or other businesses. The Excelsior Pass was first tested during a Brooklyn Nets game at the Barclays Center.
Since at least November of last year, the airline industry has been exploring the implementation of a "digital passport" that would contain health information of travelers, including if they were vaccinated for coronavirus or not. The proposed health passport would "manage and verify the secure flow of necessary testing or vaccine information among governments, airlines, laboratories and travelers," the International Air Transport Association said.
Several international organizations and large businesses, including the World Economic Forum, have begun "developing smartphone apps or systems for individuals to upload details of their COVID-19 tests and vaccinations, creating digital credentials that could be shown in order to enter concert venues, stadiums, movie theaters, offices, or even countries," according to a CNN report from December.
A recent Pew Research survey found that 30% of Americans "probably" or "definitely" don't plan on getting a coronavirus vaccine.
"If it became a government mandate, it would go down a dark road very quickly," warned Brian Castrucci, who leads the Bethesda, Md.-based de Beaumont Foundation. "It becomes a credential. It becomes a 'needing your papers,' if you will. That could be dangerous — and it could turn off people."
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) blasted the idea of vaccine passports.
"I just want to make very clear in Florida, we are not doing any vaccine passports, DeSantis said earlier this month. "All those experts said that it was a bad idea. I think it's a bad idea, and so that will not happen. And so folks should get vaccinated, if they want to, we'll obviously provide that, but under no circumstances will the state be asking you to show proof of vaccination, and I don't think private companies should be doing that either."