“The key questions are: Will [the vaccine] will be available and will it be accepted as part of the new normal in global travel? Said Mark Cameron, an immunologist at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. “I don’t think it’s hard to imagine. If, by hypothesis, France were to become a country that required you to have proof of vaccination to board a plane, I think that’s a step people would be willing to take. Last fall, shortly after the announcement of the successful Pfizer and Moderna vaccine trials, Qantas announced that vaccinations would eventually be required for travel. Alan Joyce, CEO of the Australian airline, said the move would be “a must” when vaccines are widely available. “I think this is going to be a common thing when talking to my colleagues from other airlines around the world,” he told Nine. Network last November. The interview immediately made international headlines. “We will ask people to get vaccinated before they can get on the plane. . . for international visitors going out and those leaving the country, we believe it is a necessity. South Korea’s largest airline takes a similar, albeit slightly more conservative, stance on vaccines. Korean Air spokeswoman Jill Chung said airlines may require passengers to be vaccinated. But she said it was because governments would likely require vaccinations as a condition of lifting quarantine requirements for newcomers. U.S.-based carriers have not been so open about their policies, and many experts believe proof of vaccination is unlikely to be required to travel. in the United States for residents. Earlier this month, executives from several U.S. airlines spoke out strongly against the CDC requiring tests for the coronavirus to board domestic flights. The CDC has since abandoned the idea. Even the idea of requiring vaccinations for airline workers has met with mixed reactions. United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby has asked other carriers to join him in demanding that airline employees receive the COVID-19 vaccine, but Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines have said that even though they would encourage employees to get vaccinated, they would not mandate it. However, these employees may not have a choice if they are working on international flights to countries that require a vaccine. Anthony Fauci weighed in on the idea of vaccine passports, telling Newsweek he thinks it’s “very possible.” “Everything will be on the table for discussion,” Fauci said. The concept of requiring vaccinations to visit specific countries is not new. Several African countries require visitors to be vaccinated against yellow fever. Once vaccinated, they are given what is commonly referred to as a yellow card, which allows entry. Unfortunately, proof of COVID-19 vaccination will not be as simple as a card. Currently, four major players claim to have the answer to the riddle and hope their digital medical passports will become the international standard. IBM, Clear, the International Air Transport Association, and the Commons Project Foundation are all in various stages of testing or deploying their digital passports. While all apps will have multiple features, the common denominator allows labs and authorized test centers to securely share testing and vaccination information, which would allow travelers to show proof of vaccination. “This is something we were actually working on before COVID hit,” said Perry Flint, an IATA spokesperson. The organization’s Travel Pass application rolled out this week. “The genesis goes back to the attempt to modernize processes. You go to an airport when you travel abroad and you take out your passport three, four, five times. What if you could take that paper passport and basically have it on your mobile device, iPhone or Android, it doesn’t matter. And you would only show once and it would be biometrically linked to you and the systems would recognize you all. An example screenshot of the International Air Transport Association’s Travel Pass, an application that stores passport and health information for travel Since the start of the pandemic, health has been at the forefront of the application IATA, with the aim of allowing it to connect with an authorized laboratory to share a passenger’s negative COVID-19 test or a vaccination record. Emirates has announced it will use the IATA Travel Pass app.The global airline industry, which faces $ 157 billion in losses next year due to the historic slump in demand, sees a digital health pass to certify passengers are COVID-free as the key So far the most popular choice among airlines is CommonPass, currently offered on select flights by United Airlines, Lufthansa, Virgin Atlantic, Swiss International Air Lines and JetBlue. It uses a digital certificate downloaded to a cell phone to show that a passenger has tested negative for COVID-19. Users can then offer the certificate as proof of a negative test if the country requires it. But not everyone is convinced that a standardized electronic vaccination passport will be so easy to obtain in such a short period of time. “In some countries where you have nationalized drugs, you can easily track tests and vaccinations,” said Ida Bergstrom, a Washington DC-based doctor who specializes in immunization, vaccination and travel medicine. “But for the United States does not. What is going to sync with the airlines or what is going to sync with these governments, and how is it going to happen? “I can sort of see a disaster in the making. They’ve been talking about COVID passports since day one and I’m not sure how practical it is.” There are other issues involved. A vaccination passport would restrict people. from economically disadvantaged countries that do not have access to a vaccine. Making the process fully digital could also be difficult for travelers who do not use mobile devices. “It will take a long time to vaccinate the world’s population, in especially those in less developed countries, or of different age groups, so we should not discriminate against those who wish to travel but who have not been vaccinated, ”said Gloria Guevara, President and CEO of the World Travel Council and tourism. Health officials also continue to stress that even if a person has been vaccinated, it does not mean that they “” We don’t know what type of immunity the vaccine actually confers, “Bergstrom said. “Since I have been vaccinated, it is very unlikely that I will suffer from a serious illness, but my lifestyle has not changed much because my husband and my children are not yet vaccinated. So if I were to run away, say Cancun, I might come back with COVID. Even though I wouldn’t necessarily be at a huge risk, I could give it to my family and then something could happen to them. Whether or not airlines and cruise ships require a COVID passport may not matter if countries start to require it. Australia and New Zealand have rushed to lock down and halt international arrivals when coronavirus cases emerge. It is not hard to imagine these countries requiring a COVID passport. Israel issues “green passports” to its vaccinated residents, which allows them to attend gyms, hotels and sporting events. It will also allow them to travel internationally when the country resumes flights. It seems obvious that inbound travelers will face the same rules.Despite all the uncertainty surrounding health passports, a beleaguered travel industry is placing its hopes on the vaccine and hoping it, with a continued tiered approach to distancing social can help them get back on their feet. Expect to see more cruise lines, an industry that has been flattened by the pandemic, demanding that passengers be vaccinated to navigate. After a year of very limited travel, John Lovell, president of Travel Leaders Group, says the words that few of us who dream of exploring the world again want to hear. “I see that many airlines, cruise lines, and even hotels require vaccinations at the end of the fourth quarter of this year. . . and beyond. Christopher Muther can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Chris_Muther. .
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