Status of Covid-19 vaccine passports around the world. All you need to know
The coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic is bringing about a change in everything we know. In the travel sector, vaccine passports - a documents carrying the proof of vaccination of a person - will be the much talked about thing.
In this digital era, users will be able to access their passports on mobile phones as an app or as part of a digital wallet.
The Technical Group of Global Tourism Crisis Committee - a United Nations body - aims to take innovative actions to ensure safe cross border travel and restore international mobility.
The committee was created by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) to chalk out a coordinated plan of action for recovering the hard hit tourism industry. The cross sector body includes various UN key agencies. It met for the first time in Madrid in January 2021 to plan the restart of tourism.
Support for the standardization, digitalization and interoperability of testing protocols and certification systems, based on commonly agreed evidence and risk-assessment indicators for origin and destination country/territory is one of the key agenda that the committee had called for.
Based on these developments, here is the status of vaccine passports around the world:
Sweden plans to launch a digital coronavirus "vaccine passport" by summer, assuming there is an international standard in place for the document by then, the government said last Thursday.
Iceland is the first Schengen country to issue digital Covid-19 vaccine certificates. Certificates meeting the Chief Epidemiologist of Iceland’s guidelines given by an EFA/EFTA state will be considered valid at the border of the country. Travellers with the certificate need not undergo screening and are also exempted from official border restrictions.
The government of Denmark had also planned to roll out vaccine certification but thousands of people have taken to streets protesting against the digital vaccination certificates as they claim the passport implies the obligation to be inoculated.
Britain has rejected the introduction of vaccine passports but people can seek proof from doctors' to travel, news agency Reuters quoted vaccine deployment minister Nadhim Zahawi as saying.
Singapore firms have also developed digital vaccine passports to verify travellers' Covid-19 test results as the borders reopen. These digital health passports allows hospitals and clinics to share healthcare data across borders using the blockchain technology, as reported by Channel News Asia.
Hungary is planning to launch an 'immunity passport' that can act as evidence that the traveller had been earlier infected by the coronavirus and thus has antibodies against the disease, CNN reported.
Thailand has also proposed to launch vaccine passports to avoid quarantines for the travellers who have been vaccinated, as per media reports. Thailand will also campaign for adoption of same system for easier travel within bloc without the need to quarantine.
Israel has unveiled a Green Booklet that will allow people who have been inoculated against the virus to travel and access public spaces/large social gatherings. The passport is available on mobile application and can also be printed out. The booklet will be issued after the administration of both the doses of the vaccine.
Australia too is in support of vaccine passports as a way of avoiding mandatory quarantine for both domestic and international travel, as per a local media report.
Coronavirus vaccine passports might become the currency for travel in future.
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