The Biden administration is working with the private sector to develop a COVID vaccine passport for Americans inoculated against the virus, according to a report.
The effort to develop standard credentials gained steam when President Biden predicted the country will begin a return to normal this summer and as a growing list of companies – from cruise lines to sports teams – say they will require proof of vaccination before opening again, the Washington Post reported on Sunday.
Agencies inside the Department of Health and Human Services have been running point on the initiative with private businesses, and the White House took a larger role led by coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients to coordinate the work of a variety of government departments.
Showing proof “may be a critical driver for restoring baseline population health and promoting safe return to social, commercial, and leisure activities,” the newspaper reported, citing slides prepared earlier this month by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.
But officials – including representatives from the departments of health, defense, homeland security and even NASA – cautioned about the “confusing array” of efforts to create the credentials.
“A chaotic and ineffective vaccine credential approach could hamper our pandemic response by undercutting health safety measures, slowing economic recovery, and undermining public trust and confidence,” one of the slides says.
New York has already launched the “Excelsior Pass,” an app that will allow residents of the state to prove they’ve received the vaccination or tested negative for the coronavirus to gain entry to events and businesses.