I know many of us are just sick of the cold, tired of being indoors and of not having traveled for so long. Things are looking up. People are feeling more confident and a lot more comfortable now with traveling now that they are getting vaccinated. Although it is not 100% safe from getting infected, if we continue to practice safety protocols, I think it is really the key to getting back to normal.
On Feb 22, UK has announced their plans to reopen travel. It may come as early as May for international travel. Europe though is still struggling with a slow roll-out of the vaccine so it remains to be seen whether they will open by this summer. But countries are still figuring things out and planning for it. A lot of talks are happening around a Vaccine Passport.
What is a Vaccine Passport?
It’s a proof that the holder of it has been vaccinated against COVID, and will allow them to travel freely between countries again. It will not be a passport book. It will be in the form of a digital certificate. An app that people will download to their mobile device and can be checked quickly by each countries’ customs and border control officers. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has plans to have it ready in a few weeks, named the Travel Pass. Countries will need to enroll and participate. But it will streamline the verification process if they have this as a standardized certificate.
Concerns about Vaccine Passport:
While it seems like a good idea, there are obstacles. Funding, security of such passport, as well as other ethical concerns. Will this be discrimination because not everyone is able to get vaccine due to medical reasons, not by choice? So, maybe it will be a proof that someone has a negative COVID-test, instead of a vaccine. Plus, not all countries are having a successful rollout of the vaccines due to supply. This creates a sense of inequality.
Suppliers requiring Vaccine for traveling?
Some cruise lines have already said they will only accept customers who have been fully vaccinated starting July 2021. Most are requiring crew members to be vaccinated. The US cruise lines include American Queen Steamboat and Victory Cruise lines that does a lot of US river cruises as well as Crystal Cruises, which is a luxury cruise line. They said it’s the peace of mind their guests are asking for. But other cruise line are taking a wait and see. There are cruises in Germany and Italy that has been operating safely without much incidents even without vaccinated guests.
Some countries allow visitors who are fully vaccinated, but not yet for US visitors!
There are countries jumping ahead of the vaccine passport, and allowing travelers to enter when they are fully vaccinated, waiving requirements for quarantines and negative COVID-test.
These include Iceland, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Seychelles, and Thailand, to name a few. But there are still restrictions for US travelers. Yet it offers a glimmer of hope!
How do you feel about this concept of Covid Vaccine Passport? Share a comment with us!