National Institutes of Health Head: Businesses Should Require Vaccine Credentials From Customers

August 1, 2021 Updated: August 1, 2021

The director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggested that some businesses require vaccine credentials from customers.

In recent weeks, some businesses—including a restaurant group and Broadway venues in New York City—have said that customers, not just employees, will have to provide proof they received the COVID-19 vaccine to enter their premises.

When asked by a CNN anchor about more businesses requiring proof of vaccinations, NIH Director Francis Collins didn’t provide a specific answer but suggested that it would be a step forward.

“As a public health person who wants to see this pandemic end, yes. I think anything we can do to encourage reluctant folks to get vaccinated because they’ll want to be part of these public events, that’s a good thing,” he said on Sunday.

“I’m delighted to see employers like Disney and Walmart coming out and asking their staff to be vaccinated,” he added. “I’m glad to see the president has said all federal employees—I oversee NIH, with 40,000 people—need to get vaccinated or, if they’re not, to get regular testing, which is inconvenient.”

Disney and Walmart late last week issued statements saying some of their employees will need to get COVID-19 vaccines. Walmart’s corporate employees and Disney’s salaried and non-union workers will have to get vaccinated in the coming months, according to separate statements from both multinational corporations.

“All of those steps, I think are in the right direction. Maybe that’s what it will take for some of those who have still been a little reluctant to say, ‘Okay, it’s time,'” Collins remarked in his interview. “The data will support the decision. They are making the right choice for their own safety. Sometimes it takes a nudge.”

Vaccine passports and similar systems have been criticized by civil liberties groups, the World Health Organization, and some Republicans, who have argued such programs would create a caste-based society of unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals. Vaccinated individuals would have more rights than those who are unvaccinated, they’ve said, noting that centralized databases that contain people’s health information such as their vaccination status would be a privacy concern.

In some European countries including France and Italy, thousands of protesters have taken to the streets to demonstrate against vaccine passports. France’s Parliament last week approved a law that would require customers to present their vaccination status to restaurants, gyms, bars, theaters, and other venues.

Some Republican governors, meanwhile, have signed bills into law or issued executive orders to nullify mandating vaccines or vaccine passports in municipal or state government offices. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a law in May that bars private entities from using vaccine passports.

The Epoch Times has contacted the NIH for comment.

Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Senior Reporter
Jack Phillips is a reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.