Is the COVID vaccine passport set to become the new norm in 2021 and do we all need to have one soon? This is a pertinent question that is been asked after Israel became the first nation to introduce a certification system allowing those vaccinated against COVID-19 to get entitlement to certain facilities.
Israel's 'vaccine passport' is meant for public facilities such as restaurants, gyms, and hotels in the country. This is also important for the resumption of international air travel.
In 2021, the COVID-19 vaccine passport is set to become the most important travel document. With flights and tourism slowly resuming, countries want to be sure about who they let in. For that travel, permission becomes a necessity.
What are vaccine passport?
The basic idea behind it is to provide proof of vaccination that several countries required even before the pandemic.
At the moment, anyone who has had the jab receives a vaccination card in the UK, and the details go in their medical records.
The UK is among a number of countries considering whether to introduce more formal proof that someone has had the jab.
Vaccine passport is similar to a yellow card. It is essentially proof of vaccination against yellow fever that travelers from many African countries to the United States or India are required to submit.
In the present scenario, vaccine passports are digital documents that are supposed to prove that individuals have been vaccinated against COVID-19. This will also help digitise vaccination records across countries.
Purpose of vaccine passport
Vaccine passport are digital documents supposed to function as proof that the holder has been vaccinated against COVID-19 and is therefore 'safe'.
Another key function that vaccine passports will perform is that of digitising vaccination records across countries.
While some countries have begun accepting proofs of vaccination to bypass quarantine norms, a common and universally accepted version of vaccine passport is yet to emerge.
Where vaccine passport is necessary
Cyprus says Britons who have had two jabs can enter the country from May 1 without needing a negative test or to quarantine.
However, people in England won't be allowed to travel for holidays until May 17, as of now.
Greece will admit COVID negative Israeli tourists this summer who can prove their status with Israel's 'green' digital vaccine certificate.
Denmark and Sweden are developing vaccine passports in time for the summer.
What is WHO's stand on vaccine passport
World Health Organisation is of the opinion that 'vaccine passports' for COVID-19 should not be used for international travel because of numerous concerns, including ethical considerations that coronavirus vaccines are not easily available globally.
WHO is of the belief that vaccination is just not available enough around the world and is not available certainly on an equitable basis
WHO has previously noted that it's still unknown how long immunity lasts from the numerous licensed COVID-19 vaccines and that data are still being collected.
The organisation believes the strategy might be unfair to people who cannot be vaccinated for certain reasons and that requiring vaccine passports might allow 'inequity and unfairness'.