KEY POINTS

  • The Biden administration is developing a COVID-19 vaccine passport
  • The passport is expected to be available through smartphone applications for free
  • The administration is expected to release more information about the passports this week

President Joe Biden's administration is coordinating the development of a system that would give proof-of-vaccination to people who have been inoculated against the coronavirus, a senior administration official noted.

The White House is working with multiple government agencies, including the offices of Health and Human Services, along with technology and travel companies, to develop this vaccine passport system, the official told CNN.

“Our role is to help ensure that any solutions in this area should be simple, free, open source, accessible to people both digitally and on paper, and designed from the start to protect people’s privacy,” Jeff Zients, the White House’s coronavirus coordinator, said at a March 12 briefing

Airline and business groups have urged the White House to take the lead in bringing about a uniform proof-of-vaccination system across the nation.

“A chaotic and ineffective vaccine credential approach could hamper our pandemic response by undercutting health safety measures, slowing economic recovery, and undermining public trust and confidence,” a slide at a March 2 conference by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology read

The COVID-19 vaccine passports are expected to be available through smartphone applications for free. Americans without smartphones could also print the passports, developers have said. 

However, it's unclear whether the passports would be widely accepted in other countries. 

The Biden administration is expected to release more details about the system during a briefing this week, two people familiar with the conversations told The Washington Post. 

News of the administration’s vaccine passport program came after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday announced the release of the first vaccine certification in the nation — the Excelsior Pass. 

“Today we launched Excelsior Pass, a free platform for businesses & individuals that can be used to easily access secure proof of a recent negative COVID test or vaccination. It's a first of its kind tool to help NY fight COVID while reopening our economy safely,” Cuomo said in an announcement. 

The pass, funded by the state, will be available for free to residents and businesses with vaccination records in New York. It will be accepted at dozens of arts and entertainment venues statewide starting next week. 

The French foreign minister said the UK was under pressure because it lacked doses for second vaccine shots The French foreign minister said the UK was under pressure because it lacked doses for second vaccine shots Photo: AFP / LOIC VENANCE