The Biden administration's White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Wednesday that the government has no plans of implementing vaccine passports across the nation, but are hoping that the private sector would take on the challenge of implementing it on its employees. Currently, vaccine passport mandates vary from state to state and sometimes, even between organizations or schools.
Psaki told reporters while onboard Air Force One that mandates on vaccine passports are "not currently the role of the federal government," Fox Business reported.
However, the White House Press Secretary said, "There are a number of private sector entities, universities, institutions that are starting to mandate, and that's an innovative step that they will take and they should take. That's not - and we're not taking issue with that."
Some universities are already releasing mandates on vaccine passports ahead of the new school year beginning August. On June 15, the University of California system announced that it was requiring a vaccine for incoming students in the fall. UC is home to 280,000 students and 227,000 staff members in 10 campuses in the state.
But it's not just the White House Press Secretary who is pushing for mandates on vaccine passports for private companies and institutions. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg agrees with Psaki's campaign, telling KDFW FOX 4 that "If a company, a business wants to take steps to keep their workers and their passengers safe, I would think that, from a government perspective, we want to do everything we can to encourage that and that's certainly our view at the federal level."
One Republican leader who has been vocally opposed to mandates on vaccine passports is Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who likened the idea of having these vaccine passports to being under Nazi leadership. According to NBC News, Rep. Greene took to Twitter to blast the Biden administration's position on the matter.
"Biden pushing a vaccine that is NOT FDA approved shows COVID is a political tool used to control people," the 47 year old congresswoman argued. "People have a choice, they don't need your medical brown shirts showing up at their door ordering vaccinations. You can't force people to be part of the human experiment."
Rep. Greene referenced President Joe Biden's announcement of the government's door-to-door campaign to get even more Americans vaccinated against COVID. For a number of Republican leaders, the door-to-door campaign, as well as vaccine passports, is a means of placing American citizens under control.
A number of Republican states have expressed pushback against mandates on vaccine passports, including Texas, Georgia, Arizona, Alabama and Idaho, which have all banned it.
The Biden administration is determined to get the experimental COVID jab to more Americans this week after it fell short of vaccinating 70% of the population by the Fourth of July, a goal that President Biden set for himself. But the Democratic president may face further pushback, especially now that the administration is launching a door-to-door campaign.
"One thing we know from how COVID has played out globally is that culture matters," Jen Kates, director of global health at the Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington told CS Monitor. "Politics, culture, all the differences that we know that structure people's lives have to be taken into account, both for getting back to normal and for preparing for the next pandemic."