Vaccine Passports for Travel: What Do I Need to Know?
Vaccine passports could become a necessary document for many countries, granting more freedom to travel...
31 March 2021
It's been well over a year since the virus first broke out...
While average cases across the world vary, travel has begun ticking upwards again as more and more people continue to get vaccinated against Covid-19.
There has been growing talk on how passengers can prove their vaccination status, and whether this can replace mandatory quarantine and PCR tests for the vaccinated population who are travelling. Thus allowing them to move freely between countries once more.
Enter: vaccine passports.
What are 'vaccine passports'?
As you might have already guessed from the name, vaccine passports are documental proof that the holder has been vaccinated against Coronavirus.
The idea behind vaccine passports is to give the holder more flexibility to travel locally and internationally.
While vaccine passports for Covid may seem like a new idea, they aren't really new.
Frequent flyers might be familiar with vaccine cards, which are typically a paper or card showing a persons' history of vaccinations. Some countries require proof of vaccination against illnesses such as tuberculosis or yellow fever before arrival.
Are international vaccine passports available?
At the moment, there are no official vaccine passports for Covid-19 for international travel, but it's an idea that is gathering momentum among most countries.
In March 2021, EU officials said they are working towards issuing Digital Green Certificates, a travel pass that contains the user's Covid-19 test results and vaccination history.
Over in the UK, the British government has also been pushing for a vaccine passport to get foreign travel going again.
Some countries have already implemented a local "vaccine passport", granting holders more flexibility to move around and travel within the country.
In Bahrain, the kingdom launched its own BeAware app that contains a QR code linked to its national vaccine register.
In Iceland, citizens who had had two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine are now eligible for a certificate. Meanwhile in Denmark, vaccinated travelers can now print a vaccine pass from the government’s website to show they have had their shots.
The UAE has also granted vaccinated residents and Emiratis more freedom to move as well, thanks to the nationwide immunisation programme dedicated to vaccinating the entire population in the country by the end of 2021.
Thus, vaccinated people in the UAE can travel between emirates without presenting a PCR test.
Of course, things get a bit more complicated when it comes to international travel. That's why there is currently no widely recognised "vaccine passport" that you can use to prove yourself as a vaccinated individual at airports, and exempt yourself from most mandatory travel requirements related to Covid health and safety.
What are officials saying?
The scope and necessity of a vaccine passport for Covid-19 is still unclear.
Some government officials and health experts have questioned whether a vaccine passport should be different from the already-existing vaccine card system.
There are also researchers studying whether vaccinated people can become infected asymptomatically and still transmit Coronavirus to others.