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Will post-COVID-19 travel require a 'vaccine passport?'

Virus Outbreak Holiday Travel
Posted at 12:47 PM, Feb 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-22 10:47:10-05

PHOENIX — With more COVID-19 vaccines becoming available, some are already making travel plans for the months ahead.

But how will travel look in the future?

Scott Keyes with Scott's Cheap Flights says it could involve on-site testing.

"In the airport parking lot. having rapid testing sites so you can show up, get tested. You could get results in 15 minutes," Keyes said.

Right now, different countries have different test and quarantine requirements.

A negative COVID-19 test is required to travel into the United States. While there's been discussion of negative tests needed for domestic travel, it has so far been ruled out.

Keyes thinks for many countries, the game-changer is the vaccine. He says he thinks some countries are "going to allow folks who've been vaccinated to bypass the normal requirements of testing or quarantining."

While U.S. tourists are still prevented from traveling to most European Union countries, Iceland, Cyprus and Poland are now allowing in visitors from some countries with proof of vaccinations.

But how will travelers show proof that they've been vaccinated? Keyes said that proof could come in the form of a so-called vaccine passport.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is developing one called a "travel pass." It's a phone app that allows a user to see a country's COVID-19 requirements. It also allows a user to store and share test results and vaccine information.

IBM's "health pass" goes further. Its website says the pass could also be used for "large-scale events such as a game, concert or amusement park."

The vaccine passports would also be available on paper.

The country of Bahrain has already developed a vaccine passport. Denmark, Sweden and other countries are discussing the possibility of implementing the policy.

However, the policy does have some pushback — some call vaccine passports unfair to countries that must wait for vaccines.

This story was originally published by Joe Ducey on KNXV in Phoenix.

Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering