Covid Passports: Do You Need One?

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“Covid Passports” are, simply put, certificates asserting that the person carrying them are either vaccinated against Covid-19 or have tested negative for the virus. Many European countries, such as Italy and Spain, are now opening their borders for individuals who have received both vaccination doses.

As of now, the rules are unclear as to how this affects air travel or if digital documents can be procured for flying. Many American citizens and business owners could back to commuting between countries as before after being fully vaccinated. The certificates are still being developed, but how they would be used and issued will depend on their origin. Experts say they should be free and available on paper, not just on apps, since a stable internet connection and a smartphone are not a reality in many parts. Certain states in the USA have also issued orders barring businesses or state agencies from asking people to show proof of vaccination.

Supporters agree that these certificates will do opening businesses as before easier and faster. Still, as with any apps that handle vast amounts of sensitive user data, there are concerns about privacy and security as data leaks have become more frequent than ever before. 

As of May 20, 2021, almost half of the total U.S. population had received at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose. The rate of new infections per capita is decreasing. The seven-day average of daily new Covid infections is at its lowest level since June 22, 2020, as per data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Vaccinated people are no longer required to wear masks, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said earlier this month. As of now, people vaccinated in the U.S. receive a CDC-issued card. However, many businesses are hoping for an online version that could be easier to check. In an increasingly globalized trading system, any measures that help to reopen business channels across the globe are usually welcomed as a good thing. This would also entry of vaccinated travelers only into the U.S. A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security said DHS officials do not check passengers’ Covid test results upon entry, but — that is up to the airlines. Airlines like United, Delta, and American are slowly reintroducing trans-Atlantic services and are requesting passengers to upload their Covid-19 related documents online.

Israel and Denmark have already made smartphone apps that access a person’s health data, such as test status and vaccination status. Amid fears of data leaks, such apps do make it easier for airlines to verify a person’s health status quickly. Many other countries are following suit. However, as the Covid-19 infection rates begin to drop, many people speculate that these measures will not last for very long, and unless you need to travel to other countries urgently, you can probably wait it out. 

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