By Aaron Gates-Lincoln:
With the beginning of vaccination programmes occurring widespread throughout Europe and the rest of the world, plans can finally start to be made for how industries and economies are going to recover from the crisis.
In a move towards a return to normal, daily life, the idea of ‘vaccine passports’ has begun to flourish throughout many global industries and governments. The simple concept of these documents would be to allow those who are immune and vaccinated against Covid-19 to travel internationally. The passports are not expected to undergo a globalised standardisation, and it is becoming clear that it will be the responsibility of individual governments to produce and control how the systems would work. However, a trend has appeared in that they will mostly be forms of digital certificates that contain the holders’ health data and act as official proof of their ability to travel safely.
Many global governments have claimed that they are waiting for further data to become available regarding how effective such passports would be, and what impact they could have on the transmission rates of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, some countries who have felt the suffering of the reduction of business and tourism more heavily have attempted to produce the ‘vaccine passports’ much more swiftly. For example, Iceland has already provided certificates to immune citizens and have announced it will recognise any similar forms of documentation from any EU or Schengen country in the future. In addition, Denmark and Sweden have also announced their intention to produce the passports, not just internationally but also domestically, to allow access to crowd events. Spain, Portugal, Cyprus and Poland have all voiced their support for such documentation.
For those that travel internationally for business and work, the introduction of a ‘vaccine passport’ could be incredibly beneficial. For delegates and exhibitors, in theory it would allow the usual process of international travel to occur, resulting in an increase in productivity and profit once again. It would also allow for the return of domestic companies hiring foreign workers to a faster and safer process. Without such documents, travel could not return to normal for up to another year as a result in differential rollouts of the vaccine globally that will uphold many of the current prohibitions on international travel.
As to worries that ‘vaccine passports’ could complicate travel due to differing systems used within countries of reading and recording the digital certificates, for those that travel often, this could become potentially worrying in regard to the protection of their health data. Furthermore, the potential that the increase in international travel has on spreading new variants of Covid-19 could yet also cause further disturbances in travel.
It is clear that the use of ‘vaccine passports’ seems encouraging for the return to daily life, but the nature of the unpredictability of Covid-19 and the unique global crisis we are living within showcases that we all should be cautious when fast tracking our way back to pre-Covid times.
Aaron Gates-Lincoln (pictured) writes for immigrationnews.co.uk, a media platform that helps to raise awareness about migrant injustices and news around the world.