As the coronavirus vaccine becomes more readily available, leaders in travel, tech, and politics are increasingly talking about vaccine passports — documentation of coronavirus vaccination or recent negative Covid test, according to an AP article published by Insider.
While most travelers don’t need to be fully vaccinated yet — except for people who want to take a cruise — Forbes reports that this may change once more people become vaccinated. And at the very least, a vaccination passport will allow many travelers to skip quarantines or pre-arrival diagnostic testing.
What vaccination passports look like
Digital passports could look similar to airline boarding passes with a scannable code that you could pull up on your smartphone or print out ahead of time, WaPo reports. For some travel, you may even be able to use the vaccination record card you receive during vaccination.
In Hawaii, for example, state officials are considering issuing vaccination passports for people to travel in and out of Hawaii and across islands, local station KHON2 reports.
But while an app is being developed, Hawaii Lt. Gov. Josh Green has said officials at the airport could simply check vaccination cards to make sure they’re legitimate.
On a broader scale in the US, the Biden administration is working on a vaccine-passport program for people to prove they are vaccinated before entering crowded areas like cruise ships, venues, and restaurants, The Washington Post reported.
In Europe, the EU is working on a similar, joint vaccination passport that supporters hope will be up and running by June, just in time for peak summer tourism, according to WaPo.
Israel already has a digital passport app in use called a “green passport,” which is issued by the Israeli government to people who are fully vaccinated.
Some countries already require proof of vaccination against other diseases upon entering the country, Insider previously reported, and some travelers use a paper International Certificate of Vaccination for proof.
To accommodate an increasing desire to open up travel, digital health passport apps that store and display proof of vaccination are already emerging on the market, like CommonPass, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Travel Pass, and Health Pass by CLEAR, Insider previously reported.
The World Health Organization is also working on a Smart Vaccination Certificate, which will provide guidelines and standards for digital vaccine passports.
Governments and airlines have yet to standardize vaccination requirements and how people will need to prove they’re safe to travel, and some travel industry leaders have raised concerns about mandatory vaccinations being discriminatory, Insider previously reported.
But others remain hopeful.
“Vaccine passports, if done right and done equitably, can be a way to help us get back to normal more quickly. It can make all the things we love to do safer: travel, going to a sporting event, getting back to work,” Lawrence Gostin, director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University Law Center, previously told Insider.
The CDC warns that “travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19.”