There’s no doubt about it that so many of us are looking forward to traveling again. Even though things may look and feel a bit different the next time we are able to get away on a vacation, there appears to be a general consensus that the introduction of vaccination passports will likely help to make the process of traveling as smooth and efficient as possible.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently acknowledged that Canada and other countries are “actively exploring” the idea of vaccine passports for international travel. Airlines and other businesses in the travel industry are also supporting discussions of implementing vaccine passports to make it easier to travel for those who have already been vaccinated. It seems that some countries could possibly even execute this idea quickly enough for the summer vacation season!
It is not clear yet if these vaccine passports will be accepted all around the world. However, some countries are already taking advantage of this idea and using the passports beyond air travel.
- Israel is using their new “green passport” system to make sure that only people who have been vaccinated or have already recovered from COVID-19 can attend events, such as concerts.
- Denmark expects to launch a pass system that will allow vaccinated people to travel with fewer restrictions.
- British Airways recently announced that they will launch a digital vaccine passport on May 17, when the U.K. hopes to reopen to international travel.
Many countries are making sure that people who can’t be vaccinated will still be able to travel. For example, if someone cannot be vaccinated due to health reasons or because they are children, etc. they will not be discriminated against and will still be able to produce proof of a negative COVID-19 test instead.
What is a Vaccine Passport?
A vaccine passport is a piece of documentation that proves that travellers have been vaccinated against COVID-19, or that they have recently tested negative for the virus. This ‘passport’ may be accessible via a smartphone that the travellers can show to airline employees and border officers.
Many technology companies and travel trade groups are developing and testing numerous versions of vaccine passports. IATA (International Air Transportation Association) is testing a version called Travel Pass. IBM is developing another, called a Digital Health Pass. There are also several other private-sector projects currently being developed.
IATA and IBM say their versions of vaccine passports will use blockchain technology so your information will not be stored in a central place, ensuring that your private information will be safe.
Why are Vaccine Passports Necessary?
Vaccine passports aren’t a new concept. Before COVID-19, some countries required travellers to provide proof of immunization against diseases like yellow fever before they could enter.
Countries and airlines may eventually require Canadians to show proof of vaccination before boarding an airplane. Airlines and popular tourism destinations are already relying on vaccine passports to convince governments to drop some restrictions, like mandatory quarantine, that are currently keeping travellers away.
IATA is already testing its app; it was recently used on a Singapore Airlines flight to London. A passenger put a digital version of their passport, coronavirus test results, and travel restrictions on their phone, making all this information easily accessible.
Where Will Vaccine Passports be Required?
Vaccine passports may eventually be common on international flights. These vaccine passports might even be required to enter large public events such as concerts, sporting events, and more. Israel is already requiring proof of vaccination for entrance into these types of events. Many countries are already requiring a negative test result for COVID-19 prior to entering, so a digital health passport won’t be that much different.
How do you feel about the idea of vaccine passports? Let us know in the comments below!