Will COVID-19 Vaccine Passports Soon Become the Future of Travel?

Posted: Jan 15, 2021 1:00 PM
Will COVID-19 Vaccine Passports Soon Become the Future of Travel?

Source: AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov

With countries fearing the spread of COVID-19 through travel, plans are being considered for how to safely allow a return to normal. Next week, European leaders will discuss one idea: vaccine passports.

Receiving the inoculation and having proof to show it would allow individuals to travel without restrictions, which a "standardized" passport — something leaders like Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis have advocated for — would provide. But it’s not an idea that’s not without controversy.

Next Thursday Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will urge other European leaders to agree on coronavirus passports 'facilitating the freedom of movement of persons who have been vaccinated against Covid-19'.  

In a letter to EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, Mr Mitsotakis had suggested: 'Persons who have been vaccinated should be free to travel.

'It is urgent to adopt a common understanding on how a vaccination certificate should be structured so as to be accepted in all member states'.  

The governments of Estonia, Hungary, Iceland, Spain, Denmark and Belgium have all hinted that they would support such a scheme - although the idea is already raising concerns about privacy, data-sharing and discrimination. (Daily Mail)

A similar passport is reportedly being discussed in the UK but a spokesperson for the prime minister told the Daily Mail it's not a plan they're "looking at introducing and that remains our policy." Conservative members of Parliament have also denounced the idea.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., The Vaccination Credential Initiative, a coalition of health and technology leaders, is working to "accelerate digital access to COVID-19 vaccination records."

"As the world begins to recover from the pandemic, having electronic access to vaccination, testing, and other medical records will be vital to resuming travel and more," said Mike Sicilia, executive vice president of Oracle’s Global Business Units, in a statement. "This process needs to be as easy as online banking. We are committed to working collectively with the technology and medical communities, as well as global governments, to ensure people will have secure access to this information where and when they need it."

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