The Biden administration said it is “taking a very close look” at requiring Americans to have vaccination passports in order to travel into or out of the country.
“We’re taking a very close look at [requiring vaccine passports to travel internationally],” Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Friday.
“One of our principles that has guided us throughout this pandemic is the value of diversity, equity and inclusion and making sure that any passport that we provide for vaccinations is accessible to all and that no one is disenfranchised.”
Countries in Europe and Asia are creating ways to require proof of a coronavirus vaccination, Forbes reported.
These so-called “passports” are digitally based and being developed by the European Union, other countries and private groups.
Although the United States does not have any vaccination requirements for international travelers, anyone traveling into the country is required to produce a negative COVID-19 test, according to Forbes.
The White House has said in the past that it would not be creating a “federal vaccinations database” or a “federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential.”
“Our interest is very simple from the federal government, which is Americans’ privacy and rights should be protected, and so that these systems are not used against people unfairly.”
Mayorkas’ Friday comments seem to reveal that the Biden administration might be changing its tune.
“There’s an underlying point here, of course, which is everyone should get vaccinated,” Mayorkas said.
“It is so important to get that vaccine, make one safe, make one’s loved ones and friends safe around you.”
The Homeland Security secretary, who oversees the Transportation Security Administration, added that the mask mandate on flights and in airports will be in place through at least mid-September.
“It’s a very important mandate. We are getting out of the COVID-19 pandemic because of a concerted federal effort and we need to stay strong and really put this behind us,” Mayorkas said.
He also addressed an increase in violence against flight attendants from people refusing to wear masks on flights, which he said is a “federal offense.”
“We are going to stand behind the flight attendants who are there to serve the American public,” Mayorkas said.
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