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Last spring, there was a lot of talk about so-called “immunity passports.”
These were supposed to be passports that people would possess after they had tested positive for coronavirus antibodies.
The idea was that these people would be less of a risk or perhaps at no risk of contracting the virus again and so it would be safe for them to enter back into society.
These passports never really gained traction.
Perhaps it was the mixed scientific opinions on immunity or just because it just wasn’t a very useful idea.
But now there is a new concept of a “vaccination passport” that is being seriously considered.
Certain countries around the world and places like Asia and the Pacific are considering the possibility of requiring vaccination passports for international travelers.
In Australia, Qantas is considering requiring all passengers to have a vaccination passport before they can travel abroad or even land in Australia.
Qantas has also reportedly been talking to other airlines around the world about enforcing such a requirement.
“We are looking at changing our terms and conditions to say for international travelers, that we will ask people to have the vaccination before they get on the aircraft,” Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce told Australia’s Network Nine television.
Asking about vaccinations is nothing new for immigration.
If you travel to certain locations such as the Maldives you’ve probably had to fill out a passport card that required you to tick off a box as proof of vaccination.
But they are actually talking about taking further steps by trying to figure out a way to electronically verify that people have received the vaccine.
Tracing vaccination records across countries seems like an extremely daunting task.
I understand some countries are very serious about wanting to avoid letting loose a highly contagious virus in their country if they have been successful so far in keeping their cases down.
However, the idea of tracing these records electronically just does not seem that promising.
Still, there is talk about from other airlines like Korean Air who are being vocal about the possibilities of requiring vaccinations.
If you can’t prove your prior vaccination, most likely you will have to quarantine when you arrive in the new country, so you still can probably arrive at some of these places.
I think the biggest issue that many people will have is that this type of regulation likely will only be enforced with airlines and foreign governments working in tandem.
Allowing governments to control which people with a valid passport can enter or exit the country based on vaccination status sounds like a bad plan to many people.
There’s a lot that could go wrong in that scenario whether it be abuse of the system or just negligent application.
If you’ve ever been held up in an immigration line for no apparent reason then you could forsee many more issues happening in the future because of this.
“Ultimately, it’s up to governments to determine when and how it is safe to reopen borders and we continue to work closely with authorities on this,” Air New Zealand said in a statement.
All of these countries like Australia and New Zealand have had pretty strict border restrictions ever since the breakout of the pandemic so it’s not a surprise that they would be leading this type of charge.
And while I think it is admirable for countries like that to want to take proactive measures to prevent the spread from breaking out in their countries, trying to enforce a mandatory vaccine requirement that is traceable electronically or via an app just doesn’t quite feel like the right move.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.