During an appearance on CNN Wednesday, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky suggested that a health pass system allowing special access to certain venues for vaccinated individuals, already underway in France and Italy, could be adopted in the United States.
When the host asked whether the CDC would consider implementing these European-style cards, which could provide admission to places like a disco, restaurant, or sporting event, she replied, “I think some communities are doing that and that may very well be a path forward.”
Some European countries have received backlash over their decision to use health passes, which require either proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test within the last 48 hours to enter major public buildings, with thousands of demonstrators marching in city streets to protest what they believe is invasive government encroachment on their civil liberties.
Walensky added some justification for her agency’s mask guidance reversal, which now recommends that some vaccinated people resume mask-wearing in regions with high infection rates. The CDC director addressed the rise in breakthrough cases, in which already inoculated people are becoming infected and spreading the pathogen to others asymptomatically. She noted that vaccinated people can still be virus-carriers, although they are largely protected from suffering severe illness if they contract it.
“In some fully vaccinated venues, if they are unmasked, and there are a few people who are transmitting there as a fully vaccinated person, it is possible to pick up disease in those settings. We’ve seen that in some of our outbreak investigations this summer. Which is why overall it is so very critical to get the huge amount of disease in these areas down,” Walensky commented.