HomeCovid-19 passportsAirlines call for vaccine passports

Airlines call for vaccine passports

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As many countries are approaching the implementation of vaccination passports, airlines appear to have embraced the idea and essentially already have them in place. In some cases, some airlines have already trialed digital covid-19 passports.

Emirates airlines have announced that it will be trialing the IATA Travel Pass “digital passport” which shows passengers’ proof of Covid-19 tests and other entry requirements when flying.

Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ Chief Operating Officer said that “While international travel remains as safe as ever, there are new protocols and travel requirements with the current global pandemic.”

Adel Al Redma also added: “We have worked with IATA on this innovative solution to simplify and digitally transmit the information that is required by countries and governments into our airline systems, in a secure and efficient manner. We are proud to be one of the first airlines in the world to pilot this initiative, which will provide an enhanced customer experience and conveniently facilitate our customers’ travel needs.”

Last year, the IATA, the world’s largest air transport lobby group, expected its Covid-19 travel pass app to be fully rolled out in the first months of 2021.

Other airlines, including United Airlines and Cathay Pacific, have already trialed the IATA’s scheme.

American Airlines have partnered with biometric authentication provider VeriFLY to develop its own Covid passport app, which will be rolled out within days.

Julie Rath, the vice president of customer experience at American Airlines, said: “We support the implementation of a global program to require Covid-19 testing for travelers to the United States, and we want to do everything we can to make travel a seamless experience for customers.”

Virgin Atlantic owner Richard Branson has also shown his support behind the idea of a vaccine passport telling CNBC he hopes that soon “there will be a proof-of-vaccination piece of paper that people can use to be able to get on a plane without having to be tested or without having to quarantine.”

This may be complex as over 10,000 people in Israel caught the virus after receiving the Covid-19 vaccine.

Israel’s coronavirus czar Nachman Ash has reportedly said the first dose of Pfizer’s vaccine provides less protection against COVID-19 than the US pharmaceutical firm had initially indicated it would and warned that it may not protect against new strains of the virus.

Branson added: “Vaccination is everything. Once vulnerable people, in particular, have been vaccinated, I think all kinds of businesses can start opening up again: restaurants, travel companies, cruise companies”.

The World Health Organisation has warned that such schemes should absolutely not be implemented while there is no proof that vaccinations can provide immunity to coronavirus.

“Being vaccinated should not exempt international travelers from complying with other travel risk reduction measures,” the WHO committee stressed during its meeting held on January 14.

Others have warned that the adoption of vaccination passports will inevitably lead to a two-tier society, and must be prevented.

“The immunity passport could become a passport for privilege, accentuating the divide between those who already have a comfortable position in society and those on the margins,” warned Dr. Israel Butler, Head of Advocacy, at the Civil Liberties Union for Europe, Liberties.

Mandatory requirements of Covid-19 passports may pose a problem to people who are unable to receive the jab due to adverse symptoms, those who have underlying medical conditions, or those unwilling to receive a vaccine.

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