As speculation rises that a COVID vaccination passport will be required for activities such as air travel or entry to some events, Dr. Anthony Fauci is shooting down the idea that the federal government will make it mandatory for Americans to have one.

Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert who sits on the White House coronavirus task force, made the statement on the Politico Dispatch podcast on Monday that the private sector will likely take the lead on the vaccine passport issue.

“I doubt that the federal government will be the main mover of a vaccine passport concept," Fauci said. “They may be involved in making sure things are done fairly and equitably, but I doubt if the federal government is going to be the leading element of that.”

The vaccine passport, if required, would provide proof that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, which some experts argue would accelerate the reopening of international travel around the world.

But the idea of the passport has been a hotly contested issue as the complexities of implementing the passport raise privacy questions, while some still hold off on getting their COVID vaccine.

However, New York has recently launched a voluntary digital vaccine passport app with the Excelsior Pass that provides proof of vaccination. Starting next week, California will allow event venues to require proof of vaccination for entry, CBS News reported.

But Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order banning vaccine passports statewide last week while Republican lawmakers in Arkansas and Montana are also looking to push forward similar legislation, CBS News said. Ohio is also looking to ban vaccine passports, Fox News said.

Other countries are moving forward with a mandatory vaccine passport. The U.K is testing a vaccine passport system for travel and large events, Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed Monday, according to Fox News.

But Fauci maintained that a vaccine passport requirement would most likely come from the private sector, saying on Politico Dispatch that businesses or schools may require them for entry into their buildings.

"I'm not saying that they should or that they would, but I'm saying you could foresee how an independent entity might say, 'well, we can't be dealing with you unless we know you're vaccinated,' but it's not going to be mandated from the federal government," he said.

Dr. Anthony Fauci
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci speaks during the daily briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC on January 21, 2021. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images) MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images