The US is looking closely at the requirement that Americans use vaccine passports to fly in and out of the country, said Alejandro Mayorkas, Biden’s Secretary of Homeland Security.
- “We’re taking that very closely,” Mayorkas told ABC
- He was asked about vaccine passports for people flying in and out of the country
- The White House has banned any federal vaccine passport
- Mayorkas said every passport must be ‘accessible’ and ensure that ‘no one becomes disenfranchised’
- Some GOP governors have banned vaccine requirements by private companies
- He spoke when 2.5 million Americans were due to fly Memorial Day weekend
Homeland Security Minister Alejandro Mayorkas said Friday that the Biden government is closely scrutinizing vaccine passports as a measure to try to ensure safer travel.
He made the comment at the start of a nationwide travel peak for Memorial Day Weekend, after the White House has repeatedly assured that the government will not impose such a system.
When asked if the nation could see vaccine passports for people entering or flying out of the country, he told ABC’s “Good Morning America,” “We’re scrutinizing that very closely.”
Homeland Security Minister Alejandro Mayorkas said government is taking vaccine passports for people flying in and out of the country ‘very close’
‘You know, one of our principles that has guided us through this pandemic is the value of diversity, equality and inclusion and ensuring that every passport we issue for vaccinations is accessible to everyone and that no one is denying the right to vote,’ he replied .
“And so we’re looking very closely at that,” he added.
His language about equality and inclusion reflects the controversy that the concept of vaccine passports has already sparked as businesses open up and about half of Americans are vaccinated.
Some Republican governors, including Florida-based Ron DeSantis, have signed legislation prohibiting private companies from requiring proof of vaccination from customers. The break comes when about a fifth of Americans tell pollsters they will refuse to get the vaccine.
Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz tweeted Friday: ‘Vaccines are great and the COVID-19 vaccine has given us a lot of freedom. But there is a real potential for government overruns. I don’t think the government should force anyone to get the vaccine, ” he tweeted about a Fox News hit warning of discrimination. Federal officials have made no calls to demand vaccination, and states administering vaccines are rolling out a range of incentive programs, including crash prices, free groceries, tuition, and other benefits to try and entice residents to take the chance.
He made his comments on ABC’s “Good Morning America” at the start of a busy weekend vacation trip
“There is, of course, an underlying point here, which is that everyone should get vaccinated,” he said. “We have vaccination centers everywhere, no more than a few miles from everyone’s home, and it’s so important to get that vaccine – make sure someone is safe, keep their loved ones and friends around you safe.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in April that the government would not support a system that “ requires Americans to carry ID. ” She said there would be no federal database or mandate – and said the government would protect privacy rights if the private sector turns to vaccine requirements.
She reiterated last week that the FBI would not set up a vaccine passport system when asked in the context of recent CDC guidelines on masking.
“It hasn’t changed our view that the federal government won’t play that role,” she said. ‘The private sector can, and it can prompt the private sector to move forward with actions, and that’s where we think it’s in the right place. ”
With the number of coronavirus cases declining but still present across the country as vaccination drive slows, Mayorkas said a federal travel mask mandate would last for months.
“The mask mandate is a federal mandate at airports and on airplanes, and that will probably last until mid-September,” Mayorkas said.
‘And it is a very important mandate. You know, we’re coming out of the covid-19 pandemic because of a concerted federal effort, and we need to stay strong and really put this behind us, ”he said.
With an estimated 2.5 million Americans expected to fly over the long weekend, according to the AAA, even with a 7-day average of more than 20,000 new covid-19 cases per day, Mayorkas said he was “ very excited about the re-emergence of travel, the chance for Americans to reunite with family and friends. ‘