Most countries have now lifted or eased entry restrictions for international travelers, but some require proof of COVID vaccination to allow entry. Depending on the requirements of your destination, a vaccination card might not be enough. Some countries will require you to provide a vaccine passport to certify that you are fully vaccinated against COVID 19. The vaccine passports are verified digitally or physically. This article will look into everything you need to know about COVID vaccine passports.
What Is a COVID Vaccine Passport?
A COVID vaccine passport is a paper or digital document with information to prove that you are fully vaccinated or have tested negative for COVID. The documentation started as paper, but most countries are now working towards creating digital vaccine passports and digital verification systems for easy use at airports, hotels, and other facilities. The digital COVID vaccine passport aims to ensure that vaccination certificates of individuals from different parts of the world are digitized and recognized for travel passes internationally.
The digital COVID 19 vaccine passport is a great idea, but it faces logistical challenges because countries, travel agencies, and airlines are using individual systems whose requirements differ. Therefore, not unless there is an internationally standardized system, you might still face challenges proving your vaccination even with proper documentation.
The COVID vaccine passport also faces legal challenges because some countries apply strict personal data and healthcare privacy laws. In such countries, it is illegal to ask people about their vaccination, which brings the challenge of developing a vaccine passport that meets the laws of different countries.
Another challenge facing the COVID vaccine passport is countries’ different opinions towards the COVID vaccinations. For instance, some provinces in Canada have stopped using AstraZeneca due to potential negative health effects. On the other hand, AstraZeneca is the primary vaccine in Europe. So, will a traveler touring Canada from Europe be allowed entry with AstraZeneca listed as the main vaccination on their vaccine passport?
The three challenges above, among others, have slowed down the development of a globally accepted COVID vaccine passport. As the concerned authorities work to reach a consensus, ensure to consult with your airline for all the required documents and upload them to their systems for vaccination proof before checking in.
Verification Systems and Apps to Provide Proof of Vaccination
The COVID 19 vaccine passport is not the first requirement for travelers to show proof of vaccination. All along, travelers have been required to provide yellow fever vaccination documentation. However, the COVID 19 pandemic has presented the need for digital documentation to reduce the spread of the virus as its a zero contact. Here are some of the Apps and verification systems used to provide proof of vaccination:
CommonPass is a digital application created by a non-profit organization called Common Project. The app operates on Android and iOS and allows you to input your COVID 19 information, accessible through a QR code, enabling you to prove entry requirements at the airport or other places requiring your COVID 19 information.
2. IBM Digital Health Pass
IBM Digital Health pass is a digital vaccination pass by IBM to verify the COVID 19 details of workers, travelers, and customers entering their premises. The IBM health pass is high on privacy because it allows the users to take charge of their health information and decide what not to share.
3. Smart Health Card
A Smart Health Card is a digital record of your COVID 19 results and vaccination certificates. You can save your Smart Health Card on your computer, mobile phone, or any other device where you keep your digital data. The smart Health card allows you to share your COVID 19 information with your airline or any other organization by allowing them to scan a barcode on your device’s screen, or you can share your information as a file through a compatible application.
4. ArriveCAN App
ArriveCAN App is an application used to verify the vaccination status of anyone visiting Canada. The application is free to download. All travelers entering Canada must download the application, and upload their passport details, COVID 19 test results, and COVID vaccination certificate for verification at airlines or the border.
5. EU Digital Certificate
The EU Digital Certificate application is developed to help with COVID status and vaccination verification within the European Union countries. With this application loaded with all the requirements, you are free to move across all countries with the EU block.
However, some European countries like France will ask you to provide another vaccination passport to be allowed entry at hotels, museums, and restaurants. This makes it difficult to tour the country because you must prove vaccination for almost every activity.
VeriFly is a new app that helps you verify your identity when traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic. The app allows you to securely store your personal information and passport photos, and share them with airlines and other travel partners with a simple click. With VeriFly, there’s no need to worry about having your documents stolen or lost while traveling. Whether you’re going on vacation or a business trip, Verifly makes traveling a breeze.
Countries That Have Set Up Official Vaccine Passport Systems for Their Citizens
In most countries, many citizens are vaccinated, and the government has lifted travel restrictions, but only with proof of vaccination. However, vaccine passport applications are not available to all. Some of the few countries that have successfully set up digital vaccine passports include:
1. The United Kingdom
The UK government has set up an official vaccine passport for its citizens using their existing medical application, the National Health Service (NHS) app. The residents must get vaccinated, upload their vaccination certificates and COVID tests on the NHS application, and use it as proof of vaccination for local and international travels.
Canada is also adapting their existing ArriveCAN application to include COVID vaccine verification. All travelers entering Canada and its residents must provide their vaccination certificate and COVID 19 test results when asked as proof of being vaccinated.