The vaccines have arrived, which means we can travel again, right? Not so fast.
While the rollout seems to be going smoothly, with more and more Americans receiving daily snapshots and locks being lifted across the country, the travel industry has yet to jump on the bandwagon.
Although vaccines are generating a surge of interest in recovery, it is difficult to know what a full return to normal will look like. But one term keeps coming up: Vaccination booklet.
There’s been a lot of talk about apps that track your health for reopening trips in the fall. Then came the flood, and health applications were subordinated to the newly introduced travel restrictions.
Now that three vaccines have been approved by the FDA for use in emergency situations in the U.S. and states are distributing them to a growing number of people, interest in vaccine travelers is picking up.
Nevertheless, the journey cannot be continued without problems.
Some countries, destinations, cruise lines and tour operators insist that their customers be vaccinated before entering the country or when traveling with them across their borders.
This means we are entering a new era where we may have to provide health and vaccination certificates.
Vaccinated Americans now receive a vaccination card with doses and dates. These cards are like a golden ticket that can open the doors of the world to the one who holds them. But at best, they are just small pieces of paper that can be easily faked. How will tourism officials prove that these maps are legitimate?
They are also small cards that can be easily lost, stolen or misplaced. Where do travelers keep their COVID-19 vaccines and medical records safe?
Vaccination registries could be the solution. A number of companies are launching applications for use on mobile devices to store vaccine and health data electronically. Some airlines already accept the information stored in these applications.
In an exclusive interview airing tonight on NBC Nightly News, Delta CEO Ed Bastian told NBC News’ Lester Holt that he expects to have to show a vaccination card to fly overseas.
I don’t think it will happen in the United States, but I think it will probably be a requirement internationally, Bastian said.
Probably the most widely used in the United States is CommonPass, which was developed in conjunction with the World Economic Forum.
CommonPass app (Photo courtesy of CommonPass).
The International Air Transport Association’s IATA Travel Pass is also under development. The app will soon be available for Apple iOS users, followed by an Android app.
Both repositories store numerical test data and immunization status.
The IBM Digital Health Pass is also used for more return to work for employees, but can also be used for travel, meetings and other group functions.
None of these passport applications are currently widely used.
CommonPass is used on flights between New York, Boston, London and Hong Kong on United, JetBlue, Lufthansa, Swiss International and Virgin Atlantic, and on Cathay Pacific flights between London, Hong Kong, New York and Singapore.
The IATA Health Pass is currently being tested by airlines such as Emirates, Copa, Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines.
In addition to private applications, several countries are in the process of introducing their own applications.
Malaysia has a health immunity passport and the European Union is working on a digital green passport that will provide proof that someone has been vaccinated, test results for those who may not have been vaccinated, and information on recovery from COVID-19 for those who have contracted the virus.
Everyone wants to keep health information confidential while making it accessible.
This month we will propose legislation for a digital green passport. The goal is to ensure that this is the case:
Proof that the person has been vaccinated with
-Test results for persons who have not yet received the
vaccine -Information on the reintroduction of COVID19
It will respect data protection, security and privacy
– Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) March 1, 2021
Other countries, including Iceland, Poland, Portugal and Cyprus, plan to issue vaccination certificates to their citizens.
In the United States, Andy Slavitt, senior White House adviser on the response to COWID-19, said: It is not the government’s job to store this data and do this.
He also stressed that health data should be private, secure, free, open source, multilingual and available in both paper and digital form.
Despite the privacy objective, the decision to register passports for vaccinations or to have people carry and display health information as a condition of doing things like traveling, going to the movies, going to restaurants, etc. is controversial.
According to a white paper published in February, the World Health Organization calls claims about vaccines discriminatory, based on inequities in vaccine availability and scientific considerations about whether vaccines actually prevent disease and its transmission.
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