The White House is working on a COVID-19 vaccine passport initiative that could be required for travel, sporting events and even eating out, reports The Washington Post.
The report comes as major U.S. airlines and nearly 30 travel and labor groups are pushing President Joe Biden to develop a standardized, government-backed credential to “accelerate safe economic activity and recovery.”
“The U.S. must be a leader in this development,” the groups wrote in a letter to COVID-19 Recovery Team Coordinator Jeff Zients on Monday. “The current diverse and fragmented digital health credentials used to implement different countries’ air travel testing requirements risk causing confusion, reducing compliance, and increasing fraud.”
Zients and the Department of Health and Human Services are leading the effort, according to sources who spoke with the Post. The White House declined to answer questions about the initiative and instead directed the news outlet to public statements made by Zients and other officials this month on the topic.
“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 at a March 12 briefing.
The initiative has presented multiple challenges for the administration, including data privacy issues and healthcare equity. Additionally, at least 17 other initiatives are already underway.
The Vaccine Credential Initiative, a collaboration between tech and health care companies to develop technology that would store a secure copy of an individual’s vaccination record in a digital wallet on a person’s smartphone, is already in the works.
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