Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Sunday it is not “the role of the government” to “create or mandate” a vaccine passport, but Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) administration is in the “discussion stage” of such an idea.
During an appearance on CNN, Buttigieg said a Biden administration would not mandate the use of vaccine passports, but would “support” private sector companies that make them a requirement to participate in daily life:
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says the Biden administration doesn’t view vaccine passports “as the role of the government to create or mandate.” He says ultimately airlines can decide what’s right “over and above” CDC guidelines. #CNNSOTU https://t.co/q4GqdRLuaK pic.twitter.com/vXscrrZQuP
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) April 11, 2021
“We don’t view this as the role of the government, to create or mandate any kind of vaccine passport — but these technologies are there,” Buttigieg said.
“Private sector is working on them,” the transportation secretary added. “We’re interested in following that, providing any kind of technical advice or support where needed.”
Buttigieg said the Biden administration would make recommendations to airlines to make decisions about “what they think is right to protect their passengers, to protect their workers, and to build up that confidence in the safety of American travel.”
Meanwhile, the Michigan state government is at the “discussion stage” of the concept.
“No work has begun…it’s strictly in the discussion stage,” Michigan Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Lynn Sutfin told the Oakland Press. “I suspect it will be an app, but I don’t have any confirmation of that.”
“Vaccine passports are a terrible idea that will only get us access to one ominous place: A totalitarian state where privacy is lost and personal freedoms are a thing of the past,” Republican Michigan state Rep. Beau LaFave said, according to NBC 6.
“Misguided politicians who support these new forms of identification are stripping away people’s core civil liberties, and we all must come together to stop this abhorrent idea in Michigan,” he continued.
From NBC 6:
New York currently has an active vaccine passport program in place, the Excelsior Pass, that will allow patrons of businesses and venues to show digital proof of vaccination or negative test results. The governors of Hawaii and Illinois have also voiced support for vaccine passports, and Hawaii is currently developing a program to be rolled out in the coming weeks.
The governors of Florida, Texas, Utah, and Idaho have passed legislation or executive orders prohibiting the use of vaccine passports.
“I will soon introduce legislation to make it unlawful for Governor Whitmer to implement a vaccine passport program,” LaFave said.
That legislation would need to be signed into law by Whitmer, who mimicked the policies of other progressive states, most notably New York, during the pandemic.