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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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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.

Go deeper

Mayorkas says at least 50,000 Afghan evacuees will be resettled in U.S.

Refugees disembark from a U.S. Air Force aircraft after an evacuation flight from Kabul at the Rota Naval Base on Aug. 31. Photo: Cristina Quicler/AFP via Getty Images.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said on Friday that at least 50,000 Afghans are expected to be admitted into the United States after the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan.

Why it matters: The effort to evacuate more Afghans is part of what Mayorkas called an "enduring commitment" to help those who aided Americans and those who are vulnerable under Taliban rule.

Judge temporarily blocks South Carolina ban on school mask mandates

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster. Photo: Eric Thayer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked South Carolina's ban on mask mandates in schools, ruling that it discriminated against students with disabilities and violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Why it matters: As mask bans extend to public schools around the country, parents and disability rights activists have sounded alarm bells. The ruling may signal the outcomes of legal fights playing out across the country.

DeSantis takes legal action against Biden efforts on immigration

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis took legal action on Tuesday to try to stop the Biden administration's immigration plans.

Why it matters: The Republican governor, who is running for re-election next year and is possibly eyeing a 2024 presidential bid, is picking a high-profile fight with Biden while re-upping his hardline stance on immigration.

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