What Are Vaccine Passports & Why Are They Becoming Every Traveler's Necessity?

·3-min read

Not just work, travelling too will be witnessing permanent, significant changes in the post pandemic world. To begin with, is the introduction of vaccine passports.

In 2021, the Covid-19 vaccine passport is set to become the most important travel document. With flights and tourism slowly resuming, countries want to be sure about who they let in. For that, a home country-authorised vaccination and travel permission becomes a necessity.

Zurab Pololikashvili, secretary general, United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), has also called for the global adoption of vaccination passports as part of wider measures for safe resumption of international travel. The recent UNWTO meeting called for international health and travel bodies to step up the coordination of a standardised digital certification system, as well as harmonised testing protocols.

Here is a lowdown on what are vaccine passports and why they are necessary:

[q]What are vaccine passports?[/q]

[ans]It is similar to a yellow card. It is essentially proof of vaccination against yellow fever that travelers from many African countries to the US or India are required to submit. Vaccine passports are digital documents that are supposed to prove that individuals have been vaccinated against Covid-19. This will also help digitise vaccination records across countries.[/ans]

[q]Do we already have similar digital documents in place?[/q]

[ans]Several non-profit and technology companies are already working towards creating a secure and verifiable digital passport. Some of them include:

CommonPass: The World Economic Forum and a broad coalition of public and private partners are collaborating to launch CommonPass, a global platform for people to document their Covid-19 status to satisfy country entry requirements, while protecting their health data privacy.

IATA Travel Pass: The World Health Organisation is developing digital standards for more secure vaccine pass that will be tamper-proof and accommodate new global standards. This mobile application will enable passengers to create a ‘digital passport’, receive Covid-19 test and vaccination certificates and verify that they are sufficient for their itinerary.

AOKPass: The ICC AOKpass provides a digitally authenticated, secure and portable copy of medical records. It is built to be decentralised, which means that medical records are stored only on your device and will not be shared or stored elsewhere.[/ans]

[q]Which countries have rolled-out Vaccine Passport?[/q]

[ans]Iceland: The Nordic state has become the first country to issue vaccination certificates. All the citizens who have received two doses of vaccine are now eligible for a digital certificate.

Denmark: Country’s Ministry of Health and the Elderly has said that they are working on a ‘vaccine passport’ for Danish travellers who are travelling to the countries where vaccination becomes mandatory for entry.

Israel: Israel’s health ministry has unveiled a Green Passport that enables people who are already-vaccinated to travel and be part of large gatherings. The passport is both digital and physical.

Hungary: The Eastern European country is working towards ‘immunity passports’, proving that traveller has never contracted virus, or has antibodies in their body.

Greece: The Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has appealed to the European Commission to introduce a vaccination certificate in order to facilitate travel between the bloc.[/ans]

[q]What are the benefits of such a digital travel pass?[/q]

[ans]The primary benefit will be derived by those associated to tourism and hospitality industries. This includes international air travel, which suffered massively because of the outbreak.[/ans]