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COVID vaccine passports not government’s role, Buttigieg says

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The Biden administration will not require “vaccine passports” by law, but stands at the ready to “support” companies who are pursuing the technology, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Sunday.

“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 told CNN’s Jake Tapper when asked whether he supported airlines requiring customers provide vaccination documentation in order to fly.

“Private sector is working on them,” Buttigieg said. “We’re interested in following that, providing any kind of technical advice or support where needed.”

The transportation secretary said the Biden administration and CDC would provide recommendations for airlines to make decisions on their own 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.”

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“Right now what we’re seeing is, you know, thankfully, that the guidelines are reflecting the progress that’s been made in vaccinations,” he told Tapper.

Republican Party leaders across the country have pledged to fight “vaccine passports,” which House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Friday called “something you’d expect in communist China.”

COVID-19 Vaccination Record Cards during a Care For The Homeless vaccination event
COVID-19 Vaccination Record Cards during a Care For The Homeless vaccination event
Bloomberg via Getty Images

“Thanks to the safe vaccines from Operation Warp Speed, we will defeat the virus. But forcing Americans to carry a ‘vaccine passport’ to go about daily life is unacceptable in a free society​,” McCarthy posted on Twitter.

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The governors of Texas and Florida, meanwhile, have moved to prohibit state agencies businesses from requiring vaccine documentation.

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