Though the White House has declined to answer questions on the passport initiative, pointing to public statements of others made this month is just as clear. The Washington Post reports Biden’s administration, along with private companies, are working to develop “vaccine passports” to become the standard form of proof that individuals have been vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.
Five officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said the White House’s initiatives are being driven largely by the Department of Health and Human Services. The Washington Post reports, “The White House this month took on a bigger role coordinating government agencies involved in the work, led by coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients, with a goal of announcing updates in coming days, said one official.”
In a March 12 briefing, Zients said “our role is to help ensure that any solutions in this area should be simple, free, open-source, accessible to people both digitally and on paper, and designed from the start to protect people’s privacy.”
The Washington Post states passports are “expected to be free and available through applications for smartphones, which could display a scannable code similar to an airline boarding pass” and those without smartphones will be able to print out a paper copy, according to developers.
The Washington Post has also identified at least 17 passport initiatives, including the Biden administration, which is “one of the most significant hurdles facing federal officials.” Of the initiatives, which include a “World Health Organization-led global effort and a digital pass devised by IBM that is being tested in New York state – are rapidly moving forward, even as the White House deliberates about how best to track the shots and avoid the perception of a government mandate to be vaccinated.”