The Biden administration has discussed requiring Americans to get a vaccine passport for interstate travel, according to a new report.
The administration is reportedly looking for ways to make life more “uncomfortable” for those who do not comply.
The Associated Press reports, “while more severe measures — such as mandating vaccines for interstate travel or changing how the federal government reimburses treatment for those who are unvaccinated and become ill with COVID-19 — have been discussed, the administration worried that they would be too polarizing at this time. An administration official said the interstate travel vaccination requirement was not under consideration at the moment.”
“That’s not to say they won’t be implemented in the future, as public opinion continues to shift toward requiring vaccinations as a means to restore normalcy,” the report adds.
The report said that the White House is currently in the midst of a “precarious balancing act as Biden works to make life more uncomfortable for the unvaccinated without spurring a backlash in a deeply polarized country that would only undermine his public health goals.”
An interstate vaccine passport even being discussed has sparked fierce backlash from prominent conservatives.
“While Biden is considering mandating vaccines for interstate travel, he is allowing a record number of illegal migrants to cross our southern border—many of whom test positive for COVID. This double standard is dangerous & must be stopped,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott tweeted.
Sen. Tom Cotton also weighed in, saying “Biden’s plan: Limits on interstate travel for Americans. Open borders for illegal immigrants.”
The Blaze reports that “Ben Wakana, the deputy director of strategic communications and engagement for the White House COVID-19 response, said vaccine mandates are ‘the right lever at the right time.'”
Lawrence Gostin, a professor of health law at Georgetown University, told the AP that Biden will need to continue putting pressure on people who have declined the vaccines.
“He’s really going to have to use all the leverage the federal government has, and indeed use pressure points,” Gostin said. “And I think there are a few that he can do but he hasn’t done yet.”
“The country is completely fatigued with lockdowns, business closures and masking,” added Gostin, “and vaccines are literally our only tool. We’ve tried masking, distancing, occupancy limits, even entire lockdowns now for coming along nearly two years. And the virus just keeps raging back. And the vaccines are the only thing we have now to defeat the virus. We need to use that tool and we need to use it vigorously. And I think there will be large public support for that.”