Everything You Need to Know About the Vaccine Passport
Vaccination is in progress globally, health and travel officials have pointed to vaccination as the route back to unrestricted travel. The COVID-19 Vaccine Passport may become the most important travel document in 2021.
A few options for vaccine passports exist so far, and countries and regions in Europe and Asia have also developed, or are in the process of developing their own. The international version of China's travel health certificate was officially launched on March 8th by the Department of Consular Affairs of the Foreign Ministry, which is available for Chinese citizens.
In this article, we will explain how the vaccine passport will be utilized for a safe return to travel, and challenges it might face.
What is a Vaccine Passport? Why you Need That?
The vaccine passport is a mobile application that allows passengers who test and vaccinate for COVID-19 to create a digital document, showing their eligibilities for international travel with airlines and border inspections.
In order to travel internationally, government and health authorities will need to know if passengers have been vaccinated or have tested negative for the virus. Many countries are already requiring proof of a negative test for entry. Such passes could be essential to restarting the tourism industry.
Zurab Pololikashvili, secretary general of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, pointed out in an email that:
"One key element vital for the restart of tourism is consistency and harmonization of rules and protocols regarding international travel. Evidence of vaccination, for example, through the coordinated introduction of what may be called 'health passports' can offer this. They can also eliminate the need for quarantine on arrival, a policy which is also standing in the way of the return of international tourism.”
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is one of several organizations that have been working on digital solutions to streamline the travel credentialing process. IATA announced on February 25th, that the IATA Travel Pass will be launched in March, 2021. Currently, IATA is discussing with airlines about the implementation of this mobile App. Several airlines, including Singapore Airlines, Emirate Airlines, Etihad Airlines and New Zealand Airlines have opened Vaccine Passport pilots, testing for the data processor and privacy protection.
Launching the Vaccine Passport is only the first step, getting the world in motion again is the ultimate goal, which will involve the global adoption of IATA travel pass system and recognition of public health issues, as well as coordination with the government and other parties.
A number of people in the aviation industry indicates that, global recognition of "vaccine passport" is a vital solution to the international travel restrictions. At the moment, a lot of countries start to implement plans to help boost the aviation and tourism industries that are seriously affected during the pandemic.
For example, countries with better pandemic situation may start a project called "Travel Bubble" in the following one or two months."Travel Bubble" is like wrapping two countries in a protective bubble, passengers travel between two countries do not need to quarantine for certain days. Besides, a number of countries intend to launch a mobile App that is similar to the Vaccine Passport to facilitate the cross-border travel.
What Are the Concerns About Vaccine Passport?
However, a few global organizations have different attitudes toward the "Vaccine Passport". Ryan, executive director of WHO Health Emergency Planning, objected at a press conference on January 15, 2021. He suggested that the effect of vaccination has not yet been determined, countries should not require passengers to provide vaccine certificates. Ryan also pointed out that this does not mean that "Vaccine Passport" will not be feasible in the future.
In addition, some experts said that several countries can not afford to have all citizens vaccinated. Once the "Vaccine Passport" gets universal, it will definitely cause discrimination and fraud around the world.
However, Hans Kruger, director of the WHO Regional Office for Europe, predicted on February 23rd that the COVID-19 pandemic will end in early 2022. "Compared to the time when COVID-19 begin to rapidly spread in 2020, the world has a more comprehensive understanding of the pandemic now. The worst situation is almost over", Kruger said. However, he mentioned that it is only a prediction, no one can exactly estimate how will the situation go on.
A couple of months are needed before vaccine passports get widespread. China continues to update the requirements of "Health Code" for aliens to enter the country. TTJ lists the latest COVID-19 test requirements and Health Code application procedures announced by the Chinese Embassy and Consulate of some English speaking countries for your reference.