White House weighs in on requiring COVID-19 'vaccine passports'

ByAli Gorman, R.N. WTVD logo
Wednesday, April 7, 2021
White House says it won’t require COVID-19 vaccine passports, but private companies could
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said yesterday the administration would not require people to carry vaccine passports but we could still see private companies enforce this.

PHILADELPHIA -- The White House is weighing in the contentious topic of whether people will be required to carry so-called "vaccine passports" to show proof they have been immunized against COVID-19.

Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that the administration would not play a role in this or support a federal system that would require Americans to carry a vaccine credential.

However, we could still see private companies enforce this. In that case, Psaki says the government would provide guidance to ensure the privacy of citizens is protected and that these systems are not used unfairly against them.

Alison Buttenhiem, Ph.D. with Penn Nursing, says this is one reason why the decision to get vaccinated or not has become political and she expects we will see at least some in the private sector mandate vaccination.

"We already mandate flu vaccine for healthcare workers, we're likely to see mandates there first. I think another setting where we'll see it in the fall is colleges and universities telling students who want to be back on campus that they need to be vaccinated and there's precedent for that," she said.

Several universities including Rutgers have already announced this as a requirement.

Many Republican lawmakers have come out against requiring vaccine passports in both the public and the private sector, so even though the federal government is taking this hands-off approach, we'll likely see the debate continue if private companies opt to do this.