President Joe Biden agreed to “build on the success” of global vaccine passports in a joint communique signed by Group of 20 leaders in Bali, Indonesia, this past week.
Biden met with world leaders at a global summit from Nov. 15 to Nov. 16 to propose high-level policy solutions for economic problems facing countries around the world, including climate change and the prospect of recurring global pandemics.
The forum culminated in the G20 Bali Leader’s Declaration that supported international vaccine technology sharing and the institution of “trusted global digital health networks” in an effort to improve future pandemic responses.
“We acknowledge the importance of shared technical standards and verification methods, under the framework of the International Health Regulations, to facilitate seamless international travel, interoperability, and recognizing digital solutions and non-digital solutions, including proof of vaccinations,” G20 leaders said in the declaration.
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The World Health Organization’s IHR mandate, which came into force in 2007, required countries to strengthen health documentation at border crossings and introduced the concept of international vaccination certificates.
“We support continued international dialogue and collaboration on the establishment of trusted global digital health networks as part of the efforts to strengthen prevention and response to future pandemics, that should capitalize and build on the success of the existing standards and digital COVID-19 certificates,” the joint declaration reads.
The U.S. government’s response to the COVID-19 virus, which swept across the globe over the course of two years, sparked fears the government would introduce vaccination requirements at state and international border crossings.
The Biden administration shot down rumors the White House would order federal vaccine passports in May 2021.
“The government is not now nor will we be supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential,” former Press Secretary Jen Psaki said. “There will be no federal vaccinations database and no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential.”
While private and nonprofit organizations could consider requiring patrons present proof of vaccination to receive services, the federal government should steer away from requiring vaccination for airline travel and other cross-border activities, Psaki said.
However, the G20’s recent declaration, which summit host Indonesian President Joko Widodo insisted be unanimous, appeared to support international vaccination mandates.