The distribution of COVID-19 vaccines gives us hope that international travel can return to some sense of normalcy sometime soon. You may probably wonder whether or not you need a COVID-19 vaccine passport to travel abroad. We have done research, and cover all the answers for you, specifically what the vaccine passport is, when and where you may need one and who can require it.
What Is a COVID-19 Immunity Passport?
An immunity passport also referred to as a health passport, is basically a digital ID card. It’s an app that you can store on your phone to upload your personal health data. So far, some of these health apps are available now. However, they only allow you to upload a positive or negative COVID-19 result or find some testing centers nearby and get information on countries’ entry requirements. Hopefully, they will also have the ability to upload your immunization status, proving whether you receive a COVID vaccine. If you don’t have a smartphone, do not worry because paper copies of immunization certificates will also be accepted.
When Will You Need to Use the Immunity Passport?
One of the first countries to announce that they will definitely require Coronavirus immunization for entry was Australia. It's important to know that there is already a precedent for requiring immunizations to enter a foreign country. We have come across similar practices with the “Yellow Fever Vaccine” and the “Polio Vaccine.” For example, Australia requires travelers from certain African countries and Central & South American countries to show proof of having a “Yellow Fever Vaccine,” which is an immunization for life before entering Australia.
There will definitely be many countries that follow Australia’s path, but there will also be others that won't. We believe that countries that have had the strictest travel and entry requirements in 2020 will require the COVID-19 vaccine. This list may include countries like Thailand, Singapore, New Zealand, many countries in Asia, most likely which have been sealed off much of the previous year.
Major Hurdles that Lie Ahead of the COVID Vaccination
Obviously, pretty much every country has suffered economically during the COVID 19 pandemic. So it’s going to be really difficult for most of them to require proof of vaccination for entry. Firstly, because many people don’t even have access to a COVID vaccine. Secondly, governments get under pressure from tourism operators, travel companies, and lobbyists who really want things to get back to normal.
Even in very technologically advanced countries such as Taiwan, the officials have said that the idea of an immunity passport sounds good in theory, but it would be tough in practice. Many countries may want to require immunization but just won't do it because of all the logistics.
Will Airlines and Airports Require to be Vaccinated?
Experts have said that they expect airlines to be some of the first private companies to require proof of vaccination. Even though many airlines might require immunization, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the entire travel is on board. The Adventure Travel Trade Association director has said that testing is more important than vaccination as a mandatory widespread could negatively impact travel.
2020 has shown that some countries were able to safely reopen for travel without a major spike in cases, that's why many countries won't require immunity passports. If you have it, it's a plus; but they may require either PCR testing, quarantine requirements, or both. Basically, opinions are split throughout the travel industry. We may get different directions when it comes to which countries or companies require an immunity passport.
What You May not be allowed to do?
One thing can be risky, even if you can travel internationally without getting the immunization. There will be a chance that you won't be able to participate in many activities once you arrive in a country. Let's say you are going to a foreign country to go to a sporting event or a concert. It's possible that you won't need the immunity passport to get into the country, but you may need it to get into the event. This is also essential to bear in mind.
Cruise ships have not set a word yet whether they will be requiring an immunity passport, but it could still be another year, at least before their ships can set sail again. As to predictions, they will end up requiring immunization just because it's really hard to quarantine on a cruise ship.
The Final Word
If you have been feeling a little bit down after hearing this news, don't worry because governments, tourism operators, airlines, and agencies want you to travel again. So they will be doing everything possible and impossible in their power to make it happen.