Dr. Anthony Fauci said in an interview published Monday that the federal government will not requirefor travel and business. The White House has indicated that any potential passports would come from the private sector, with little direct government involvement.
“I doubt that the federal government is the primary driver of a vaccine passport concept,” Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, told the Politico Dispatch podcast.
He said the federal government “may be involved in making sure things are done fairly and equitably, but I doubt the federal government is the main element of that.”
The idea of vaccine passports, a form of proof that a person is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, has already become controversial, as local government andconsider whether you need them. They have also become a partisan issue, with Republicans across the country denouncing them as government overreach and an invasion of privacy.
Last week, New York became the first state to launch a passport, a voluntary application that allows people to upload proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test result that can be scanned before entering a business. California next week is starting a new policy that allows event venues to require proof of vaccination or a negative test result.
Meanwhile, Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued an executive order last week banning vaccine passports statewide, and Republican lawmakers in states like Arkansas and Montana are pushing for similar measures.
Some companies, including airlines, already require proof of a negative COVID test for customers.
Israel introduced an app-based vaccine passport in February, and the European Union plans to introduce it during the summer.
Fauci said in the interview that he believes “individual entities,” including theaters and universities, will be the ones to make the call about passports.
“You can foresee how an independent entity might say, ‘Well, we can’t deal with you unless we know you’re vaccinated,'” he said. “But it will not be a mandate from the federal government.”