The European Union, some Asian governments and the airline industry are scrambling to develop so-called COVID-19 vaccine passports to help kickstart international travel. They’re working on systems that would allow travelers to use mobile phone apps to prove they’ve been vaccinated, which could help them avoid onerous quarantine requirements at their destinations. Their use domestically to reopen local economies has been hotly debated, with many opposed to requiring them for pubs, concerts and sporting events.
How It Works
- The first part of a vaccination passport is the user’s official or approved electronic immunization record.
- Testing is under way for the EU’s digital certificate, which will also confirm COVID-19 test results or recovery from the virus and is set to go live by the end of June, allowing residents to reunite with friends and relatives living across 30 European countries.
- It’s still unclear where and how exactly travelers in the EU, which doesn’t have internal border checkpoints, will have their certificates checked.
- Officials in Brussels say that will be up to individual countries. The idea is that travelers will flash a QR code on their phones so it can be scanned at, say, an airport or train station, using an official verification app that checks with national databases, via an EU technical “gateway.”
The World Health Organization doesn’t recommend vaccination proof as a requirement for international travel, citing unequal distribution of vaccines, even as it consult on interim guidence for developing a “Smart Vaccination Certificate.”