The idea of covid passports isn’t new. Travelers are accustomed to showing proof of immunization at certain borders for diseases such as yellow fever.
With total coronavirus cases worldwide approaching 73 million, you can expect to be asked for your covid-19 passport sometime in the future when traveling.
The World Health Organization is working on an e-vaccination certificate and the International Air Transport Association, with close to 300 member airlines worldwide, is creating a digital covid-19 vaccine passport.
“Proof of vaccination for covid-19 vaccine will be essential for public health purposes,” a spokesperson for the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe (WHO/Europe) told Newsweek.
Eventually, travel is expected to rebound from the covid-19 pandemic. Some analysts say they’re seeing signs of recovery.
On the last Tuesday of October, 648,517 passengers were screened by Transportation Security Administration officers. That was down 66 percent from the 1.9 million screened on the last Tuesday of October in 2019. It’s still a lot better than TSA’s pandemic low of 87,534 passengers screened on April 14, a Tuesday, Wall Street Journal reported.
Three global alliances representing 58 airlines want governments to replace quarantine restrictions with widespread covid-19 testing and digital travel passes that would verify who’s safe to fly, AP reported.
Delta Air Lines is talking with governments about adding quarantine-free trips to international destinations as a way to revive demand. The aviation industry has backed travel corridors and “bubbles” where passengers testing negative can fly without long quarantines.
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American Airlines is about to start offering at-home covid-19 tests to domestic travelers to help them meet state travel restriction requirements. It’s partnering with direct-to-consumer home testing company LetsGetChecked, which will sell the tests for $129 on top of the cost of travel.
Alan Joyce, the CEO of Qantas Airways Ltd., has proposed requiring proof of vaccination on its planes for travelers entering or leaving Australia.
Lance Gokongwei, president and CEO of Cebu Pacific, the largest budget airline in the Philippines, said covid-19 passports will be essential for travelers.
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South Korea’s largest airline, Korean Air said there’s a “real possibility” airlines will mandate passengers take a covid-19 vaccine before being allowed to travel.
Americans are increasingly willing to take a covid-19 vaccine, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation poll. Respondents indicated that 71 percent are willing to take a free and safe covid-19 vaccine, an increase of 8 percent from three months ago, The Hill reported.
The increases are the most dramatic among Black adults: 62 percent of those polled in December said they would be willing to take a free and safe vaccine, compared to 50 percent three months ago.
Some civil liberties experts say that vaccine passport app technology comes with privacy risks.
“The corporate part of it, the extent to which this is going to be privatized is quite new,” said Michael Willrich, a history professor at Brandeis University. Willrich wrote “Pox: An American History,” a book on health control during 20th-century smallpox epidemics. “It raises concerns about privacy, about the right to be free from everyday surveillance,” he told the New York Times.