All you need to know about vaccine passports and how it may benefit travellers

Talks about issuing vaccine passports have been doing the rounds in several countries in order to ease restrictions for international travellers

As of this week, India has become the fastest country to have successfully vaccinated more than 5.6 million people for COVID-19. The nationwide vaccination drive began on January 16. Several other countries have rolled out vaccination drives as well. The global vaccine count has crossed 130 million doses. While the vaccinated person may be expected to have some level of immunity, it has also been found that those who are vaccinated have a much lower rate of transmission of the virus. But will a vaccinated person enjoy more freedom to travel as well? That depends on the proof - a vaccine passport.

We take a look at what the passport is all about and why and how you could consider getting one.

What is a vaccine passport? 

It is basically evidence of an individual having been given vaccination jabs for COVID-19 on a form that is recognised by the destination country or region. The form should ideally include all details about which vaccine was given, the date, the institution it was given by, the manufacturer, the batch number and other such information. 

When will they be available? 

Travel and tech experts say that it will take a while before a universally accepted certificate that can be accessed by everyone is made available. 

Which countries are working towards this? 

Two Nordic countries, Sweden and Denmark, have announced that they will soon begin developing vaccine passports that will enable people to travel abroad without hassle. The United Kingdom has announced that it will not introduce it. India has not made any announcements in that regard so far. 

How can people access it?

Given the contagiousness of the virus and the devastating effect it has, experts suggest issuance of digital certificates in order to avoid contact and make it more secure. However, accessibility by everyone remains a challenge. The WHO has also opposed it as it will be discriminatory against those who cannot access it. 

What else can the vaccine passports be used for?

Many countries now require mandatory quarantine for travellers. The vaccine passport may ease these restrictions and allow people to travel freely. However, it may be valid only for a certain period of time as there is no evidence yet about the duration of protection against the virus. 

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