A glance at countries that have approved 'Vaccine Passport'

Even as the World Health Organization citing unequal distribution of vaccines, stopped short of recommending vaccination proof as a requirement for international travel, many countries and even the EU have unveiled what has now popularly be called "Vaccine Passport".

So which are some of these countries that have launched these certificates and how do these work? Let's take a look. 

Chile

People in Chile who have been vaccinated and are fully immunised against the coronavirus could from May 26, obtain a pass to move about more freely, a move that has been criticised by Chilean health professionals.

The pass, can be downloaded on a person's mobile phone two weeks after receiving their second shot, and it gives the bearer permission to move freely in cities under lockdown to go to the supermarket, pharmacy, or for open air exercise.

Those without permits, by comparison, have to print out a permission form every time they want to leave the house, which is allowed for essential reasons only.

Pass holders can also travel between cities and towns not under lockdown.

(Photograph:AFP)

European Union

Due to be launched on July 1, this is supposed to help turn the page on coronavirus restrictions that have crimped Europeans' cherished freedom of movement.

Coupled with a separate plan to let in fully vaccinated travellers from countries outside the EU and to be defined by the middle of June, Europe believes its vital tourist industry could claw back some of the losses racked up since the start of the pandemic.

The EU agreement will prevent member states imposing additional travel restrictions, such as tests or quarantine, unless they are "necessary and proportionate" to protect public health. The certificate will have a scannable QR code which will help stymie the "hugely copied" PDF files of test results or vaccinations that some people were using to cross borders.

The EU's Covid certificate will show the bearer's vaccination status, or whether they have immunity from a Covid infection they have recovered from, or the result of a Covid test.

(Photograph:AFP)

Greece

Greece on May 28, unveiled its digital health certificate aimed at rebooting the country's coronavirus-hit tourism sector and part of a wider EU scheme to reopen national borders.

Even though the EU certificate will be open to all EU citizens from July 1 at the latest, according to Greece Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the European nation will try to start the programme sooner than that,

Like the certificate launched by the bloc this certificate contains a QR code indicating that its holder has been vaccinated, has tested negative for the coronavirus or has immunity after being infected. 

"This is particularly important for Greece as a tourist country, but also important for every EU state because what we want to do is to restore freedom of movement," Mitsotakis said.

(Photograph:AFP)

Israel

With more than half the population having already received two vaccine doses, Israel has the highest vaccination rate in the world. Last month it was able to begin easing a nationwide lockdown.

Known as the "Green Pass" it is available to anyone who has been fully vaccinated or has recovered from COVID-19. They just have to show it to access facilities such as hotels, gyms or theatres.

The certificate is available in paper form or in an app, which links users to their personal health ministry data.

Not only this, but this app was also opening up opportunities for international travel. Israel had struck deals with Greece and Cyprus so Israeli citizens with passes can now travel to these two countries. But unfortunately, it was recently suspended due to the high uptake of vaccinations in the country.

 

(Photograph:AFP)

United Kingdom

For the United Kingdom citizens, the NHS app will serve as the vaccination passport. Several countries have agreed to recognise it as a Covid vaccine passport for British tourists.

Holidaymakers from the UK can use this app to prove they are vaccinated when travelling to these countries: Barbados, Croatia, Greece, Turkey, Gibraltar, Iceland, Moldova, Bulgaria, and Estonia.

(Photograph:AFP)

United States of America

While the United States has as of yet not launched a national vaccination pass or passport, on May 28, it has said that it is seriously considering creating a vaccine passport for Americans traveling abroad.

"We're taking a very close look at that," Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said of the idea of special documentation for vaccinated Americans who want to travel overseas, as inoculation drives allow Europe and other regions of the world to start opening up from pandemic restrictions.

Even though the idea of vaccine passports has attracted criticism in the US, the state of New York has decided to take the plunge as the first state in the in the nation to create one, saying it will help facilitate economic activity. Known as the Excelsior Pass, it has been developed by IBM. Excelsior is essentially a simple digital wallet that can be accessed on mobile devices. It holds basic info like the user's name, birth date, a QR code, a green check mark and the time when the passport expires. Though it's use id advised, there is no mandate that anybody use the app.

(Photograph:AFP)

Germany

Germany is all set to launch a digital pass.This digital vaccination record (der digitale Impfnachweis) is an additional option for documenting vaccinations that the German government is currently developing. In future, vaccinated people will be able to store information such as the date of their jab, and the type of vaccine they received, on their smartphones.

This app will function in addition to the pre-existing "yellow booklet" and not a replacement. 

The digital vaccination certificate can be generated in a doctor’s practice or in a vaccination centre. The vaccination certificate will contain a QR code which can be scanned using the CovPass app or the Corona Warning App (CWA), and can prove the identity of the user.

(Photograph:AFP)

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