HealthDay News — The Biden administration and private companies are working to develop a standard for a “vaccine passport” that could be used as the country tries to reopen in the coming months.
The effort has gained steam following President Biden’s pledge that the nation will begin to return to normal this summer and with a growing number of companies saying they will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination before reopening for business, The Washington Post reported.
The administration’s initiative has been driven largely by arms of the US Department of Health and Human Services, including an office devoted to health information technology, said 5 officials who spoke to The Post on the condition of anonymity. The White House this month took on a bigger role in coordinating government agencies involved in the work, with a goal of announcing updates in the coming days, one official told the newspaper.
The initiative has required that officials coordinate across dozens of agencies and a variety of experts. The passports are expected to be free and available through applications for smartphones, which could display a scannable code similar to an airline boarding pass, The Post reported. Americans without smartphone access should be able to print out the passports, developers have said.
US officials face numerous challenges, including data privacy and health care equity. They want to make sure all Americans will be able to get credentials that prove they have been vaccinated, but also want to set up systems that are not easily hacked and design passports that cannot be counterfeited, The Post reported.