White House Weighs In on Politically Charged ‘Vaccine Passport’

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Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said that the Biden administration will not support or develop so-called coronavirus “vaccine passports”—a subject that has become a political hot potato across the country as conservatives warn against government overreach.

“The government is not now, nor will we be, supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential,” Psaki said to reporters at the White House on Tuesday. “There will be no federal vaccinations database and no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential.”

Those comments seemed intended to clarify or outright update her comments on the issue last month—when she indicated that the administration was “working with private firms to create a passport system,” as The Epoch Times reported.

The administration “would provide guidance” on the issue, she indicated at that time.

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On Tuesday, Psaki added, “Our interest is very simple … Americans’ privacy and rights should be protected so that these systems are not used against people unfairly.”

But she again indicated that the government would “provide guidance” on privacy concerns related to vaccines.

Many Republican leaders have come out firmly against any notion of vaccine passports—including former Georgia State Rep. Vernon Jones, who joined the Republican Party earlier this year.

In a tweet on Monday, Jones wrote, “If I were governor, on Day One, I’d ban vaccine passports through Executive Order. On Day One.”

In Texas, GOP Gov. Greg Abbott just did exactly that. This week, he signed an executive order that bans government-required vaccine passports in the state of Texas—something that Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida did last week as well.

Here’s the Florida’s governor announcement of his executive order from last week:

Gov. Abbott announced in a video on Tuesday that in Texas, residents are now returning to normalcy, given vaccination rollouts.

Thus far, the Lone Star State has administered more than 13 million doses of virus.

Abbott added that vaccination efforts should be done “without treading on Texans’ personal freedoms.”

See this tweet, with video, containing his remarks:

And in Missouri, GOP Gov. Mike Parson on Wednesday morning told “Fox & Friends” on Fox News, “One, it’s all about the privacy of the individual, who received a vaccine and who didn’t. Also, do we really want the federal government to have all that information in a database to be able to use it for whatever reason they might want to use it as time goes forward?”

Parson added, “We’ve been in the vaccination business for four months, with COVID-19. This whole process has had so many unknowns in it. So many people that were experts really turned out to be ‘not-so-experts’ in all the things we’ve heard from this. So, who knows where these vaccines are going to go.”

He continued, “So, I think it’s way premature [to have a vaccine passport]. We’re never going to do that in the state of Missouri. We’re never gonna have a mandate, a vaccine passport, in this state. If people want to carry a card, that’s fine. That’s called freedom. It’s called individual rights. But it’s not government’s place to do that.”

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All of this is in stark contrast to what’s happening in some Democratic-run states across the nation.

New York, for example, just became the first state in the country to launch a digital vaccine passport for Empire State residents to prove they’ve been vaccinated.

Called the “Excelsior Pass,” the card “allows” New Yorkers to prove their immunization credentials—either that, or a recent negative COVID test—in order to “gain entry to events and businesses,” as The New York Post made clear.

Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden and the Times Union Center in Albany have already begun using the app, The Post added.

Democrat governors of Illinois and Hawaii have also indicated support for vaccine passports, with some qualifications.

In Georgia, GOP Gov. Brian Kemp came out strongly against vaccine passports. See his tweet here:

And in Tennessee, GOP Gov. Bill Lee stands firmly against government-mandated vaccine passports.

See this tweet about it:

As Healthline recently reported about this volatile issue, “China unveiled its digital vaccine passport last month to be accessed via an app that would allow people to verify their vaccination status by scanning a QR code. Japan recently announced plans for a similar digital passport expected to debut in the coming weeks.”

The outlet added, “The European Union says it backs a ‘Digital Green Certificate,’ which would allow citizens who have proof that they’ve been vaccinated, received a negative coronavirus test result, or have recovered from COVID-19 to travel across all 27 member states.”

Related: Trump ‘Recommends’ COVID Vaccine While Respecting Personal Freedoms

But as Bloomberg noted, “There’s sharp debate on the issue in the U.K. and other countries. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is on course for a battle with members of Parliament over plans to introduce vaccine passports as part of opening up services.”

In the United States, strong concerns have emerged about political government overreach and the invasion of privacy and individual rights.

The issue warrants close attention.

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—By CNJ Staff

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