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Homeland Security head says agency taking a 'close look' at vaccine passports for international travel

NBC News logo NBC News 5/29/2021 Dareh Gregorian

The Department of Homeland Security is "taking a very close look" at vaccine passports for Americans traveling abroad, Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told ABC's "Good Morning America" on Friday.

Asked whether the U.S. would use vaccine passports for travel in or out of the country as international trips increase this year, Mayorkas said, "We’re taking a very close look at that" and "making sure that any passport that we provide for vaccinations is accessible to all and that no one is disenfranchised."

He then added that, "There’s an underlying point here, of course, which is everyone should get vaccinated."

The concept of "vaccine passports" has been the subject of conservative backlash in the United States, with numerous states having already acted to curtail or ban documentation of Covid-19 vaccinations.

a group of people standing in front of a building: Image: Travelers walk through Ronald Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Va., on May 25, 2021. (Stefani Reynold / Bloomberg via Getty Images) © Provided by NBC News Image: Travelers walk through Ronald Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Va., on May 25, 2021. (Stefani Reynold / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Internationally, the European Union, some Asian governments and the airline industry have been working on systems for travelers to prove they've been vaccinated in order to cut down on travel restrictions.


Video: DHS Secy. Mayorkas taking 'a very close look' at vaccine passports for international travel (NBC News)

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The White House has said repeatedly there would be no federal vaccination database or mandated vaccine passport in the U.S.. A spokesperson for DHS told NBC News that Mayorkas was talking about a system that's being set up to help Americans who want to travel internationally.

“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. 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 spokesperson said.

"There will be no federal vaccinations database and no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential.”

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