The UK’s Transport Secretary explained that the international system is likely going to be an extension of the existing yellow fever cards that are required by certain countries. “I imagine there will be countries which will want to know if you have been vaccinated or have had tests,” he said.
Greece and Israel have already agreed to remove quarantine for travellers between their countries who can prove they have been vaccinated or have had the disease in the past six months.
UK travel industry association ABTA’s CEO Mark Tanzer has called for the British government to give the country’s travel industry the option of using similar vaccine certificates to help save the summer holiday season. The UK Government has, however, said it has no plans to introduce vaccine certificates enabling Brits to travel abroad this summer because they were ‘discriminatory’.
Health passports part of reopening travel
Tanzer said the option of having a vaccine certificate was ‘important because this evidence, alongside testing, is likely to be part of the way to reopen travel’: “We would like to see the government work with the industry on how can we have a voluntary certificate that will be able to demonstrate that you’ve been vaccinated, meaning you don’t have to test or quarantine,” argued Tanzer.
Meanwhile, from March, around 20 airlines will trial the IATA health pass that allows passengers to securely store and share the Covid-19 vaccine and test records they need to travel internationally. IATA said it’s working at ‘full capacity’ to roll out the pass and talking to ‘30 to 40’ other carriers about adopting the platform. “Our priority is to start the aviation system again safely,” the company told a webinar hosted by IATA and the World Aviation Festival. “This way, we can show governments that it’s safe to travel.”
Health passports could be discriminatory
However, Business Travel News worries that digital health passes could widen the gap between the 'haves' and 'have nots'. The publication said: “It's arguable that the ‘will nots’ should not have access blocked because they can't or won't be immunised. The ‘have nots’ are another issue. Vaccine rollouts will not be standard around the world. Medical experts have discussed this issue at length with us over the past 10 months. There are money issues – rich countries have gotten access to the vaccines much faster than poorer nations.”