Back in January, we published two posts outlining the travel restrictions travelers could face in 2021. Our first post – Do I Need A Corona Test To Travel In 2021? seems a little outdated already since the vaccine is being rolled out worldwide (and in the US alone at an astounding rate – up to now, 56 million people have been fully vaccinated across all States), althought the answer is still very much YES if you haven’t had your vaccine yet. In our second though: Everything You Need To Know About The IATA Travel Pass, we already had some sort of news of a Covid Passport being tested in Dubai. Well, clearly something caught on, because it seems as though we may need a covid passport to travel this year after all.
Let’s dive into what we know.
What is a Covid Passport?
Funnily enough, a covid passport isn’t a passport at all, as it absolutely doesn’t show a person’s citizenship. The name has simply stuck because it’ll be used at passport control to gauge whether someone is fit and safe to travel internationally. Instead, the modern day covid passport will most likely be digital for quick scan opportunities that don’t keep queues held up.
These vaccine passports will be your certification to show that you’re fully vaccinated against the Corona Virus, meaning that you’ll be first in line for international travel when the borders are open again. It also means you can travel without a test or isolation period within the United States, which is amazing news for families who’ve been kept apart for the past year due to travel restrictions.
You should also be aware that your covid passport is different from your proof of vaccine that you’ll receive when you’re vaccinated. That will be a card issued by the CDC, whereas the passports can be downloaded in app form and will take your credentials on board.
Companies currently working on a vaccine passport include IMB, who are using blockchain technology to craft their ‘Digital Health Pass’, The IATA have their own version which is already being tested, and The World Economic Forum & the Commons Project Foundation are working together to develop an app called CommonPass. All use QR code technology to hold your data for quick and easy registration at security.
Are the Vaccine Passports Going to be Mandatory?
In short, no. The U.S government will not make covid passports mandatory. However, it remains to be seen how things will go down in other realms. For example, it’s possible that independent businesses around the world will be able to choose whether they allow people into their establishments without proof of a vaccine, which means that you could be turned away at the door of many cafes, restaurants, movie theaters, museums and shops of business owners who don’t want to take the risk of having a Corona outbreak in their vicinity.
It’s understandable that some businesses would choose to turn away unvaccinated tourists at their door – they have just spent the past year trying to make ends meet in any way they can because of the virus after all. However, with fewer unvaccinated people to worry about, the chances of there being a break out would indeed become smaller anyway, so the question is, will these businesses want to turn any customers away in the first place? Let us know what you think below.
So I can Still Travel Without a Vaccine?
Yes, although not everywhere.
Within the United States, you’ll still need to take a Covid test and place yourself into quarantine for a minimum of 7 days once you arrive at your destination. Out and about, as well as on planes and other forms of public transport, masks are still mandatory, and obviously if you feel ill, you’re advised not to travel at all.
For the rest of the world it’s similar, with Covid tests being required 1 – 3 days before travel and a self-isolation period of up to 10 days. That’s if the borders are open of course. Right now, some European countries are banned from traveling into others at all (the UK has made international travel illegal, for example, and grounded most flights to certain countries to stop the spread).
Are these Passes Controversial?
There are of course some who feel that these corona passports have a controversial edge to them. For one, they’re seen as discriminatory for the older generation as well as those with poorer backgrounds. This is because the technology is only available for smartphone users, which means that it won’t be accessible to all.
Futhermore, the idea that these passes may include the pass owner’s Covid history and details makes privacy less likely, which not everyone will be on board with, and rightly so. What do you think? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.
Of course, the idea of proving that you’ve been vaccinated isn’t a new concept. International travel to some countries includes mandatory vaccinations for diseases like Yellow Fever, Hepatitis A & B and Malaria for example, and you’re always required to show proof upon entry to your destination and on your return journey. This would be no different, and could end the isolation we’ve all felt in the past year.
What are your thoughts on the vaccine and the vaccine passport? Have you already had your doses, or are you still waiting patiently for yours? We’d love to know your thoughts, so set them out in the comments below and let’s discuss this controversial yet intriguing idea.