Vaccine Passports Explained
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3rd Feb | 1 min read

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    Vaccine passports for international travel have been a hot topic in recent weeks as countries and airliners discuss ways for travel to return during the pandemic. We’re here to answer all your questions about COVID-19 vaccine passports.

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    What Is a Vaccine Passport?

    A vaccine passport or certificate is a physical or digital document that verifies that you’ve been inoculated against a specific virus.

    Are They A New Concept?

    Vaccine passports are not a new concept. Most countries require you to have some compulsory vaccinations before you can travel there. For example, travellers who aren’t vaccinated for things like malaria and yellow fever won’t be able to travel to most countries.

    How Will They Work For COVID-19?

    Travellers who have had their full dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will be provided with a certificate as proof. They will then be required to carry that certificate with them while they travel.

    Which Countries Are Currently Discussing It?

    There are plans for a European Union wide vaccine certificate program. In particular, countries like Greece, Spain, Denmark, Portugal, Iceland, Cyprus, and Israel have all discussed and/or implemented a vaccine certificate program. Most of these countries rely heavily on tourism as a major driver for their economy and need travel to come back soon.

    Which Airlines Are Currently Discussing It?

    The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is encouraging the European Union to support the idea of a continent wide vaccine certificate program. Some airlines have also begun trials on their own mobile “vaccine passport” apps that would include both testing and vaccine information. Etihad Airways is working on an app, called Travel Pass, while Emirates said it would also begin trials for their very own travel pass app. Qantas also anticipates implementing a vaccine passport program of their own. 

    Will They Be Mandatory For International Travel? 

    Right now it’s unclear whether vaccine passports will become mandatory for international travel. It’s likely that you’ll either need some combination of a negative covid test + quarantining, or a vaccine certificate, to board a flight in coming months. Some experts have suggested that implementing a mandatory vaccine certificate program for international travel would discriminate against poorer countries who have yet to start their inoculation programs, while weather countries have had a head start. 

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