Biden admin won't impose vaccine passport mandate, but 'interagency process' is preparing guidance

"There's currently an interagency process that is looking at many of the questions around vaccine verification," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

Updated: March 29, 2021 - 7:44pm

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The Biden administration will not seek to institute a mandatory government-run vaccine passport regime, but it is working toward developing guidelines and anticipates that any vaccine verification system will be private-sector driven.

"There's currently an interagency process that is looking at many of the questions around vaccine verification. And that issue will touch many agencies, as verification is an issue that will potentially touch many sectors of society," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a press briefing on Monday. "That's guidance we'll provide. We expect, as Andy Slavitt I think alluded to, that a determination or development of a vaccine passport or whatever you want to call it will be driven by the private sector. Ours will more be focused on guidelines that can be used as a basis," she said.

Psaki noted that there will be some "key principles," among them, that there will not be a "centralized universal federal vaccinations database and no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential. Second, we want to encourage an open marketplace with a variety of private sector companies and non-profit coalitions developing solutions. And third we want to drive the market toward meeting public interest goals," she said.

White House senior advisor for COVID-19 response Andy Slavitt had likewise referred to on Monday an "interagency process" regarding the issue and noted that the U.S. government "is not viewing its role as the place to create a passport, nor a place to hold the data of citizens. We view this a something that the private sector is doing and will do."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention only 15.8% of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus so far, while 28.6% of the population has had at least one vaccine dose.