As more of the global population receives a coronavirus vaccination in 2021, you may need a COVID-19 passport to travel.
The world is abuzz with hope as vaccinations for COVID-19 become available. The hope is that widespread vaccination will allow for fewer restrictions on where people can go, what they can do, and how they can socialize. But, as restrictions disappear, you may need a COVID-19 passport to serve as your proof of vaccination — and your ticket to go where you want to go and do what you want to do.
Given just how unprecedented the COVID-19 outbreak has been, it’s likely that the emergence of a COVID-19 passport will be rife with uncertainty and challenges. To help you prepare for a world where a COVID-19 passport is needed, here’s a rundown of what a passport is, how it will work, plus more.
What is a COVID-19 Passport?
When students prepare to attend elementary school, they are required to get a series of vaccinations protecting them from tetanus, polio, measles, mumps and other undesirable illnesses. Doctors provide immunization records so that students can demonstrate to their schools that they have received the required shots.
COVID-19 passports will work in similar fashion. But, instead of living on a sheet of paper, these passports are likely to live digitally in apps. For example, a COVID-19 passport would allow you to scan a QR code at the airport in order to pass through security.
The final form of COVID-19 passports has not been determined yet, but there are several options in development. The World Economic Forum is developing an app called CommonPass that could be used as a COVID-19 passport for international travel. The government of India is creating a smartphone certificate that will serve as proof of vaccination. And the International Air Transport Association is also investing in an app that would work as a COVID-19 passport.
There are likely to be multiple forms for COVID-19 passports in the future. Expect a handful of different types of passport to become commonplace and widely accepted both in the United States and around the world.
When Will Vaccine Passports Appear?
Look for COVID-19 passports to become available in the first half of 2021. By summer of 2021, a significant portion of the populations of developing nations like the United States will have received both doses of the vaccination. At that time, a COVID-19 passport will become a fast and easy way to show movie theaters, sports venues, restaurants and workplaces that the holder has been inoculated against the coronavirus.
As of now, no major airline has indicated that it will require a COVID-19 passport for boarding. In fact, it’s unlikely that a COVID-19 passport (or proof of vaccination in paper form) would be required for travel until the vaccination is much more widely available. By the end of 2021 and the start of 2022, it’s possible that the vaccine will be widespread enough that COVID-19 passports will become easy to access and more strictly enforced by airports and airlines.
How Will Vaccine Passports Work?
Because the final form (or forms) of the COVID-19 passport is yet to be determined, it’s unclear exactly how a passport will work. But we can look at passports in development to see how they plan to operate.
For example, the CommonPass noted above will access the databases of healthcare providers and/or government agencies to access an individual’s vaccination records. It will then generate a QR code that can be scanned at entry points. Upon scan, the QR code will return a simple yes/no response as to whether the holder has been vaccinated. The app includes other features and security measures to ensure the authenticity of the vaccination record while also protecting the privacy of the individual.
Ensure Smooth Business Travel With JTB
At JTB Business Travel, we stay on top of the latest travel news and trends so that we can alert our clients and ensure that our Travelers enjoy smooth, interruption-free trips. If and when a COVID-19 passport is required to travel either domestically or internationally, we will notify you and provide support as needed to ensure your Travelers have what they need to move from place to place without issue. Get in touch to learn more about our common-sense approach to business travel.