FACT CHECK: Is Biden Administration Planning to Create or Mandate COVID-19 Passports?

The Biden administration is working toward developing a Vaccine Passport but questions like if it will mandate that Americans must engage in commerce, has been doing the rounds.

A lot is being talked about Covid-19 'Vaccine Passport' and the Biden administration is already working toward developing a standard way of handling credentials so that a person in future can use the passport. However, most of the things are still unclear as the concept of Vaccine Passports is still in its early stages. That said, a lot of speculation is being done and among them one recent question that is doing the rounds on social media is if the Biden administration is working to launch a COVID-19 passport with a mandate that "Americans must have to engage in commerce."

Since then, social media users have been trying to find the truth behind the claim. While many have raised concerns that such a mandate will not help millions of Americans, many have straightaway been slamming Joe Biden and White House. Although it is true that the Biden administration is working toward developing a Vaccine Passport, a lot of questions, especially if it will mandate that Americans must engage in commerce to have that passport, has been plaguing people's minds.

The Origin of the Doubt

On March 28, 2021, The Washington Post came up with a report titled "Vaccine Passports Are on the Way, But Developing Them Won't Be Easy." That story revolved around Biden administration's efforts "to develop a standard way of handling credentials of millions of Americans that would allow them to prove they have been vaccinated" for COVID-19.

The report further elaborates that the Vaccine Passports might actually be like digital certificates and would much be like a physical piece of paper given at the time of a COVID-19 vaccination. However, the vaccine passports would be available remotely and from anywhere in the world at any time. But at the same time the these digital certificates, which will be introduced with the objective of a person's ability to participate in certain activities after he or she has received a vaccine, brings with it a host of privacy and ethical concerns that have become a subject of debate.

The Washington Post report also mentioned that to make this a reality the Biden administration has already stared assembling experts from a variety of federal agencies to 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," according to White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients.

What Raised the Doubts?

Joe Biden
Joe Biden during Thursday's news conference Twitter

The Washington Post, however, got interpreted in a different way by many with many taking to social media to claim that the Biden administration is set to mandate a government-operated COVID-19 passport system that.

Things got more complicated after the DiscloseTV tweeted from is official handle that, "Americans must have to engage in commerce." Social media users immediately started slamming idea and many started making efforts to ascertain the truth behind the claim.

What's the Truth?

Dan Diamond, one of the Washington Post journalists who did the story, immediately took to Twitter to respond to the DiscloseTV's claims and wrote: "I am an author on the Washington Post Story. This is not what we wrote." However, doubts didn't get cleared and social media users continued to look for a concrete answer.

The way DiscloseTV tweeted, gave everyone a different impression. In the Tweet falsely suggested that the Biden administration will both mandate the use of such a certificate and also create and maintain the system that runs it. At least, there is no truth in it as of now.

However, Diamond himself has given some more clarity on the concept of vaccine passports. He tweeted, "Some businesses have said that proof of vaccination will be required; a range of private and public organizations are already racing ahead on designing passports; the Biden admin is working to set standards around what's coming." This means the Biden administration hasn't mandated anything, not at least that "Americans must have to engage in commerce" to have these passports.

The concept of digital vaccine passports is still in very nascent stage and many countries that have been planning to introduce one are still struggling to put together thing. Moreover, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on March 29, 2021, that "there will be no centralized universal federal vaccinations database, and no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential."

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