Dr. Anthony Fauci said in an interview released Monday that the federal government won’t be mandating vaccine passports for travel and businesses. The White House has indicated that any potential passports would come from the private sector, with little direct involvement from the government.
“I doubt that the federal government will be the main mover 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 if the federal government is going to be the leading element of that.”
The idea of vaccine passports — a form of proof that an individual is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — have already become controversial, as local government and businesses consider whether to require them. They’ve also become a partisan issue, with Republicans across the country denouncing them as government overreach and an invasion of privacy.
New York last week became the first state to launch a passport — a voluntary app 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 beginning a new policy allowing event venues to require proof of vaccination or a negative test result.
Meanwhile, Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis issued an executive order last week banning vaccine passports statewide, and Republican lawmakers in states including Arkansas and Montana are pushing similar measures.
Some businesses, 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 is planning to introduce them over the summer.
Fauci said in the interview he believes “individual entities,” including theaters and colleges, will be the ones to make the call on passports.
“You could foresee how an independent entity might say, ‘Well, we can’t be dealing with you unless we know you’re vaccinated,'” he said. “But it’s not going to be mandated from the federal government.”