Vaccine Passports Are Being Developed For Future Travel

Vaccine Passports Are Being Developed For Future Travel

In the near future, people may be asked to show proof of a coronavirus vaccine to travel or enter into countries.

If you’re planning to travel in 2021 or even ‘palance’ to a concert or event, you might be asked to show proof of a coronavirus vaccination, as many travelers are wondering what to expect when travelling in a post COVID-19 world. At the moment some countries are completely free of travel restrictions while others require COVID-19 tests and others are completely closed to everyone.

In 2021 vaccines and a digital Covid-19 vaccination passport of sorts may be required for certain countries. A few days ago, in fact, the Australian airline Qantas has already  announced that they are working towards requiring all international travelers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus before boarding a Qantas flight!

IATA (the International Air Transport Association) has also announced that it’s in the final stage of developing a digital “Travel Pass” that would help jump start the reopening of international borders and international travel. The Travel Pass would be an online and app based system for both IOS and Android that would be a centralized place to obtain updated and correct entry requirements for all countries as well as a place to upload valid vaccination certificates.

During the COVID pandemic it has been extremely challenging for both airlines and travelers alike to obtain correct timely information regarding country openings, quarantines, COVID test requirements and border closures as these have in some cases changed almost on a daily basis. Some of the key goals of the pass would also be to:

  • Provide travelers with verified testing centers and labs at their departure locations which meet the standards for testing and vaccination requirements of their destinations.
  • Give governments an easy way to verify the authenticity of passenger’s COVID19 tests.
  • Grant travelers a “one stop shop” and information resource to verify accurate country specific entry requirements.
  • Offer an easy platform to upload vaccination certificates with QR codes.
  • Ensure that COVID tests travelers take are acceptable for entry.

The Travel Pass will be rolled out in the first quarter of 2021 and is one of several proposed digital solutions (including The CommonPass mobile app, created by the Commons Project Foundation and the World Economic Forum) which has been tested by several airlines carriers for the post COVID travel world.

CommonPass, IBM and the Linux Foundation have all stressed privacy as central to their initiatives. IBM says it allows users to control and consent to the use of their health data and allows them to choose the level of detail they want to provide to authorities.
“Trust and transparency remain paramount when developing a platform like a digital health passport, or any solution that handles sensitive personal information,” the company said in a blog post. “Putting privacy first is an important priority for managing and analyzing data in response to these complex times.”
With vaccines manufactured by multiple companies across several countries in varying stages of development, there are a lot of variables that passport makers will need to account for.
“A point of entry — whether that’s a border, whether that’s a venue — is going to want to know, did you get the Pfizer vaccine, did you get the Russian vaccine, did you get the Chinese vaccine, so they can make a decision accordingly,” said Crampton. The variance can be wide: the vaccine developed by Chinese state-owned pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm, for example, has an efficacy of 86% against Covid-19, while the vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna each have an efficacy of around 95%.

As far as which application or  solution will be ultimately be adopted for mainstream use only time will tell.  Many interesting solutions are in the works and some variation of a digital Covid-19 vaccination passport will almost certainly be a reality for jetsetters as well as the evolution of travel insurance adapted to COVID-19.

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