Will You Need a ‘Vaccination Passport’ to Travel?

New coronavirus cases are rising in Europe and elsewhere. So, travel restrictions are tightening.

The United Kingdom now requires travelers from more than 30 countries to isolate for 10 days after arriving. Canada already had that policy in effect.

And even if a country does not have such a policy in place, new restrictions could be imposed at any time. With no notice. That means passengers could get turned away when they arrive. Or have difficulty returning home.

All air passengers coming to the U.S. are required to have a recent negative COVID-19 test result. Or documentation of recovery from COVID-19. This includes American citizens.

Cruise Ship Will Launch the Program

Those restrictions are concerning to some travelers. And the travel industry. But we may be on the verge of something even more restrictive. Ironically, the travel industry is supporting it.

There’s now talk of “vaccination passports” being required prior to travel from one country to another.

In fact, it’s more than just talk. Royal Caribbean International recently made this announcement. Its ship, Adventure of the Seas, will resume sailing from the Bahamas. The seven-night excursions are being scheduled from June 12 through August.

Adult passengers need to show proof they have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Those under 18 must show a negative coronavirus test result. Crew members must also be vaccinated.

 A Bad Year for Princesses

Michael Bayley is Royal Caribbean’s president and CEO. He said, “The vaccines are clearly a game-changer for all of us.”

Bayley added, “We believe starting with cruises for vaccinated adult guests and crew is the right choice.”

The cruise industry has been hit hard by the pandemic. It started in February 2020. That’s when more than 700 passengers and crew members on board the Diamond Princess tested positive.

The next month, an outbreak occurred aboard the Grand Princess. On the way to Mexico, the ship was rerouted to California. Thousands of passengers were quarantined. More than 100 were infected and at least eight died.   

CDC Says Don’t Cruise 

The CDC lists cruise ship travel among its “Very High” concern level.

Its website reads this way. “CDC recommends that all people avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide. The risk of COVD-19 on cruise ships is very high.

“It is especially important that people with an increased risk of severe illness avoid travel on cruise ships.

“Cruise passengers are at increased risk of person-to-person spread of infectious diseases. Including COVID-19. Passengers who decide to go on a cruise should get tested three to five days after your trip. And stay home for seven days after travel.”

Will New Passports Ease Fears?

We’re likely to see the vaccination passport idea enacted with other forms of travel. Including airplanes, trains and buses.

Airline officials and others in the travel and tourism industries are looking at it as a relief measure. They want to get back some of the money they lost over the last 15 months.

They believe it will make some people feel safer about traveling. And might persuade governments to loosen restrictions.

Some governments already require proof of vaccination. Including against yellow fever, rubella, cholera and others diseases. Countries including Iceland, Poland, Portugal and Cyprus have announced plans for proof-of-vaccination certificates.

There’ll Be an App for This

Travel-related trade groups are developing and testing different versions of vaccination passports.

The International Air Transport Association calls it “Travel Pass.” IBM is developing one called “Digital Health Pass.”

Any vaccination passport would be in the form of a smartphone app. Or paper documentation. 

Passengers would be required to show this proof of vaccination before boarding a plane. Or a recent negative coronavirus test result.

Expanding Beyond Travel?

So far, vaccination passports have been discussed mainly in connection with travel. But in some countries, they’re expanding upon the idea.

For example, Israel is using a “green passport.” It ensures that only people who have been vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 can attend public events. Such as concerts.

A move in that direction in the U.S. would be worrisome for many people. Especially those who have chosen not to get a coronavirus vaccine. There is also concern about security breaches. Many people are hesitant to share health information that could be hacked.

But NBC News medical contributor Dr. John Torres thinks it will happen. He said, “Some type of vaccine certificate or passport will likely be needed. Not only for travel abroad. But possibly even to get into sporting events, theaters, hotels…”

‘Not So Fast,’ Say Some

Even if vaccination passports are limited to travel, there are those who don’t believe they are a good idea. At least not yet.

Dr. Mike Ryan is the director of the World Health Organization’s emergencies program. He says that using vaccine certification as a requirement for travel “is not advised.”

This is partly due to the fact that 25 percent of the world’s countries will not be able to administer vaccines in 2021.

The CDC is still discouraging nonessential travel, regardless of vaccination status. A spokesperson said the agency “has not issued guidance on management of vaccinated people during travel.”

Some form of vaccination passports will probably be in effect here soon. How many aspects of American life they will affect remains to be seen.

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Sonia - May 14, 2021

In my opinion it may make sense to have this vaccine card to enter other countries. However, if everyone that chooses the vaccine are essentially immune to the said disease then why would you force others to have it when that person is choosing to be a risk. If the vaccine is effective then those vaccinated are not at risk. They have been working on this propaganda a long time so we will be pitted one against the other, neighbors and family members alike. Coming to the U S A soon.

Shawn - May 6, 2021

Vaccine passport, certificate or whatever else they want to call it is a horrible idea and unconstitutional. It calls for divulging personal medical information to anyone who requests proof of a vaccination. It will require segregation of vaccinated and nonvaccinated people at public events or establishments or will eliminate people from participating and moving freely in their community, county, state, country. This is an untested vaccine and we shouldn’t be required to be lab rats in order to live our lives without coercion and threats. According to VAERS, there have been over 3,000 deaths, so far, of people getting this vaccine which is why we should decide for ourselves if we want to take the risk. If government is allowed to force us to get this vaccine, what other vaccines or medications will we allow to be forced on us? Freedom not fear!!!

Lea Brady - April 12, 2021

I am one of those that is not getting the shot at least this year, I feel people should be forced to get a vaccine they are not comfortable with, if that was the case enforce the flue shot. Those that chose to not be vaccinated should not be descriminated against in any way,travel, restaurants, theaters etc. I support those that chose to do this but please don’t chastise those that chose not to. I’ve been tested 8 times and only once last year did I get a positive result. Thank you

Eric - April 12, 2021

I don’t know if it’s a good idea to have proof of vaccinations or not. First off it’s a free state still right? second, a lot of people are on the fence about the shots, third, I don’t think the goverment should make my mind up for me, yes I know something is out there killing a lot of people, but think about it. they say it’s air spread, well I need someone to tell me why when we have windy days a lot more people don’t die? They came out with the vaccinations too quickly, like months. Cure cancer that fast. I don’t travel outside the good ole US OF A anyway. what is in that shot anyway? Why do they want everyone to get it, is there something in it to control us when the goverment wants us to be good, they press a button and everyone that got the shot walks around like zombies. We don’t hear about anything but covid killing people and guns. LEAVE GUNS ALONE. GUNS DON"T KILL, PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE, GUNS ARE TOOLS JUST LIKE ANYTHING ELSE YOU HAVE TO KILL SOMEONE. I have a shirt I wear that states: IF GUNS KILL PEOPLE THEN PENCILS MISSPELL WORDS FORKS MAKE PEOLE FAT AND CARS DRIVE DRUNK. Think about that, cause it makes sense.

Ginger deMeyer - April 11, 2021

Frank, although I usually concur with your opinions, I most respectfully disagree with your stance against the vaccine. I have traveled to all seven continents and more countries than I even counted. Quite often entry into numerous countries required proof of vaccination which makes complete sense to me. As for those referring to individuals who fought in WWII for our freedoms, such logic is absurd. In the 1950s, polio, rubella and smallpox would not have been eradicated have individuals objected on such a ridiculous premise. Yes, we have rights. I have the right not to be given a death sentence from such individuals just as they believe they have the right to ignore scientific facts and spend their last days on a Earth, on a ventilator, unconscious and ins0lated from all whom they loved until Covid 19 takes their life. Just as WWII affected the entire planet, this novel coronavirus is a WORLD PANDEMIC and we need to all pull together to combat it as the Allies trident then. A person’s unsubstantiated conspiracy beliefs does not give them the right to kill the rest of us.

Martin Thostenson - April 9, 2021

Three words. Invasion of privacy. It will cause a great many lawsuits.

Tim - April 9, 2021

This vaccine is dangerous. It’s experimental. Not doing it. As a matter of fact there is a lady from America who is stuck in Mexico because she tested positive even tho she had the vaccine. I’m good with this.

Sandra - April 9, 2021

I cannot believe it has come to this I am so sad. At 63 years old my boyfriend had covid in December I quarantined with him. It was flu like with a cough. I had very little if at all symptoms I tested 6 days later and came back negative so guess I won’t know till I test for antibodies. Either way I do not want the shot! from being a child of the fifties to this is blowing my mind. My grandfather,father, son have fought for our freedom. To come to this in the guise that its good for us is so unbelievably scary. To think I won’t be able to have the freedom to travel go to events that involve public. Will car travel from state to state be next?? Folks who want the shot get it, those that don’t should not be punished. The freedom to choose that is what were about. Second amendment is next on the list. Not to much to look forward to in retirement.

Cynthia Anne Delgado - April 9, 2021

Isn’t this scenario remind us of foreign countries have been trying to take over the United States for centuries? By taking away our conditional rights of freedom of speech,and expression. Also, why doesn’t the CDC make a list of all the names of the animals that were used for the virus so we would know if we are allergic to them and cause death. Wouldn’t that allow individuals the right to deny the COVID 19 vaccination with proof to also save lives

Sandra Mason - April 9, 2021

I am 100% against and unproved vaccine. What side effects in 5 or10 years?? I am also against a passport to travel freely in the U.S. America is not a socialist country and we must stand firm to resist those forcing this on us. I am disgusted that this is what is happing to the America I know. Something is terribly wrong when you don’t need an ID to vote but need a vaccine passport.

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