A vaccine or digital passport to fly?
New measures for travellers are expected to emerge in the coming months. How will the Brussels vaccine passport, which allows flying across Europe, consist?
The vaccine passport, a certification proposed by Brussels
In the run-up to the summer holidays, the European Commission unveils a draft certificate. It aims to facilitate travel within the Union. With a code QR attesting to the health status of its holder, it indicates that it is vaccinated, has undergone a negative PCR test or is immunized as a result of an infection with COVID-19.
It will take into account the four vaccines approved by the European Union, namely pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/Oxford, and Johnson and Johnson. However, this provision does not exempt other Member States from accepting certificates issued by other vaccines. According to the provisional version of the vaccine passport, it opens the door to Chinese sinopharm and Russian Sputnik V vaccines. In particular, they have been adopted by some EU countries, such as Hungary.
On the other hand, people who are not vaccinated should be allowed to travel. They may not be a priority audience or simply do not want to be vaccinated. Thus, they can be subjected to measures such as the seven or forties. It should be noted that any State wishing to introduce measures on this certificate should justify this decision to Brussels. This is the case of quarantines, tests or the preventing entry into the territory of the holders of this vaccine passport.
A digital passport in experimentation
Two Gulf airlines will experiment with a very similar concept of this vaccine passport in the coming weeks. Emirates and Etihad will test a “COVID-19” passport. It will be digital and will indicate PCR tests performed or vaccination of travelers. Entitled “IATA Travel Pass”, this certificate is established by the International Air Transport Association. It allows travellers to verify that their test or vaccination meets the requirements of their destination.
From next April, a first phase of testing will be launched. The largest airline in the Middle East, Emirates, will test this digital passport. In addition, in the first quarter of 2021, Etihad will operate these flights from Abu Dhabi.