Sign up here to receive the Story of the Week in your inbox every Thursday.
The Biden administration is working with the private sector to develop standards for proof-of-vaccination credentials, informally referred to by some as vaccine "passports." Such credentials could potentially be used by participating businesses to require customers be vaccinated against COVID-19. The Washington Post first reported the story via an anonymous administration source, and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that there would be no federal mandate or centralized federal vaccination database: "We expect...that a determination or development of a vaccine passport or whatever you want to call it will be driven by the private sector."
Also on Monday, President Joe Biden announced a new initiative to make 90% of American adults eligible for a vaccine by April 19. Wednesday, however, brought mixed news on vaccines: while Pfizer announced that its vaccine was 100% effective for children aged 12-15, Johnson & Johnson temporarily halted future vaccine shipments after a weeks-old factory error was found to have ruined 15 million doses.
Outlets from across the spectrum covered each of the week's top COVID-19 vaccine stories. However, the "vaccine passports" story was met with strong opposition from many on the right, with Florida's Gov. Ron DeSantis calling the idea "completely unacceptable." The story also resulted in several distorted headlines; visit the AllSides Perspectives Blog to learn more.
Perspectives: Media Bias Alert: Headlines surrounding news about potential vaccine passports demonstrates how the media distorts news; How did a famous Democratic socialist and a conservative Christian forge a deep friendship across partisan lines? They embraced an openness to ideas and opinions that challenged them.
More from AllSides: Sick of "fact checks" that aren't really just checking the facts? Use our Facts and Fact Checking portal to compare facts, fact-checking and analysis from across the spectrum; Download the AllSides mobile app for balanced news on the go. Available for iOS and Android; and you can support our work and mission by becoming a sustaining member of AllSides. Sustaining memberships allow you to read AllSides ad-free.
Snippets from the Left
"The Biden administration and private companies are working to develop a standard way of handling credentials — often referred to as “vaccine passports” — that would allow Americans to prove they have been vaccinated against the novel coronavirus as businesses try to reopen. The effort has gained momentum amid President Biden’s pledge that the nation will start to regain normalcy this summer and with a growing number of companies — from cruise lines to sports teams — saying they will require proof of vaccination before opening their doors again."
"...while many raised valid questions about data privacy...far-right figures used the news to spread disinformation and create more fear about vaccines at a time when a significant proportion of the adult population is already hesitant to get the jab. Leading the charge was QAnon-supporting Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. “They are actually talking about people’s ability to buy and sell linked to the vaccine passport,” Greene tweeted. “They might as well call it Biden’s Mark of the Beast.” Greene was referring to an apocalyptic passage from the Book of Revelation that suggests that Satan will test Christians by asking them to put a mark on their bodies."
Snippets from the Center
USA Today (Analysis)
"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency use authorizations for three COVID-19 vaccines so far. We compare the different available shots, and several still in the approval process for use in the Untied States."
"The National Institutes of Health has started testing a new coronavirus vaccine from Moderna designed to protect against a problematic variant first found in South Africa, the agency said Wednesday. The phase one trial, led and funded by the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will test how safe and effective the new shot is against the variant — known as B.1.351 — in roughly 210 healthy adults, according to the agency."
Snippets from the Right
"As college campuses target the fall semester for a return to "normal" learning, a new item will likely be added to the back-to-school checklist. Proof of COVID-19 vaccinations might become mandatory for enrollment at U.S. colleges and universities come fall with more and more states opening up the vaccine pool to those 16 and above."
Washington Examiner (Opinion)
"Stadiums, concert venues, movie theaters, offices, and even other countries may start requiring proof of vaccination, according to CNN. And that’s just the start. If the federal government pressures private businesses, such as restaurants, to begin requiring vaccine passports, they will have no choice but to comply. This last year in lockdown has proven as much. In other words, the federal government is going to make sure our everyday lives are still consumed by the coronavirus pandemic long after the crisis has passed."