Vaccine Passports Pick up Speed; Possibly Even for Domestic Canadian Travel
Even as a growing list of nations begins to recognize COVID-19 vaccination passports as a way to not only reopen to international travellers, but also to allow their own citizens to travel freely within their own borders, the concept remains controversial.
Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps effectively confirmed Wednesday that the U.K. government is speaking to other countries about it, stating: “We are having discussions about those things to have an internationally recognised system… Internationally, we are talking to ICAO about how best to ensure there are internationally recognised standards.”
About 20 airlines, including Emirates and Etihad, will begin testing the app in March.
The industry body announced its digital health passport in November and believes it will be a vital tool in convincing governments to unlock their borders and allowing “seamless” journeys as flying picks up again.
IATA is not marketing the product directly to consumers, but rather encouraging airlines to incorporate the technology into their own customer apps.
A CBC report draws parallels between Iceland’s efforts to vaccinate the majority of its population by the middle of the year with the vaccination schedule in Canada’s northern territories. Nunavut, Yukon and the Northwest Territories are hoping to do the same, and the possibility of having most of the region’s population vaccinated reduces the likelihood that its limited healthcare system would be overwhelmed by COVID patients. The use of vaccination passports could let them eliminate or reduce quarantines which would let them welcome much-needed skilled labour and tourists.
However, some health authorities say there isn’t yet enough evidence that vaccines prevent a person from carrying the coronavirus and infecting others. Others have raised legal objections over such passports saying that they could be considered discriminatory.
Mark Stachiew Editor
Mark Stachiew is a Montreal-based travel journalist who's been exploring and writing about the world for more than 30 years. When he's not travelling somewhere or grappling with words on a page, he curates his own collection of travel gear.