What Can We Learn From Vaccine Passports Around the World?

A traveler tests the CommonPass digital health passport system at Haneda Airport in Tokyo, Japan. Photo Courtesy: Yoshikazu Tsuno/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

As the pace of COVID-19 vaccination rates around the world accelerates, hopes are growing high that the world will soon be able to get back to some semblance of business as usual. And one big component of this back-to-new-normal process is regaining the ability to travel more freely. In an effort to help ease travel restrictions for people who are fully vaccinated, many countries have started implementing vaccine passports — “a paper or digital document proving inoculation against COVID-19.”

But as the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant has COVID-19 cases on the rise again, travel seems less practical and more unsafe. U.S. residents are beginning to wonder if government officials will take a cue from countries that have implemented these passport systems. Additionally, many citizens are hoping the U.S. government will take the steps to do so; according to CNBC, a June 2021 survey from travel website Upgraded Points found that nearly 82% of U.S.-based respondents support the idea of vaccine passports.

Currently, the U.S. lacks a standardized vaccine passport system and has largely “left it to airlines and other businesses to figure out” a process that compiles and validates travelers’ proof of vaccination. But other countries are well on their way to implementing successful passport systems — and the U.S. may be able to learn from their examples.