May 28, 2021 - Health

DHS says no plans for vaccine passports, clarifies Mayorkas' comments

US President Joe Biden stands alongside Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas (

President Biden and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas in the White House in February. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security on Friday said "there will be no federal vaccinations database and no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential.”

Why it matters: Earlier Friday, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas on Friday told ABC's "Good Morning America" that the U.S. is "taking a very close look" at the possibility of requiring vaccine passports for international travel.

  • "We’re taking a very close look at that, you know, 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," Mayorkas said.

A DHS spokesperson later on Friday clarified Mayorkas' comments, saying that there will be no "federal mandate" for vaccine passports in the U.S.

  • We’ve always said we’re looking at how we can ensure Americans traveling abroad have a quick and easy way to enter other countries," the spokesperson added.
  • "That’s what the Secretary was referring to; ensuring that all U.S. travelers will be able to easily meet any anticipated foreign country entry requirements."

The big picture: The European Union and some Asian governments are developing coronavirus vaccine passports that people can access using phone apps in order to "help kickstart international travel," AP writes.

Vaccine passports have become a controversial topic in the country, with several Republican-led states banning state government and some private business from requiring them.

  • A recent survey by the COVID States Project revealed that 62% people in the U.S. support government-imposed vaccine mandates, while only 27.5% said they support businesses using vaccine passports.

Go deeper: The barriers to vaccine passports

Editor's note: This story has been updated with the DHS spokesperson's clarification.

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