The United Kingdom plans to push for an internationally-recognised vaccine passport in an effort to get travel off the ground again in the coming months. By Alison Fox
The UK will use its presidency of the G7 to tout the concept, which in theory would allow international travel to resume. The government would look to create “a clear international framework with standards that provide consistency for passengers and industry alike,” according to a document released this month outlining the country’s pandemic-related plans.
“The Government’s objective is to see a safe and sustainable return to international travel, for business and pleasure,” according to the document. “Vaccinations could offer a route to that safe and sustainable return… Introducing such a system also needs to be fair and not unduly disadvantage people who have yet to be offered – or gain access to – a vaccine.”
To help aid the eventual return to international travel, the government appointed a taskforce that will report recommendations by April.
But Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the idea of a vaccine passport was “complex” and several issues needed to be worked out, according to The Associated Press.
“We can’t be discriminatory against people who for whatever reason can’t have the vaccine,” he said. “There might be medical reasons why people can’t have a vaccine. Or some people may genuinely refuse to have one. I think that’s mistaken, I think everybody should have a vaccine, but we need to thrash all this out.”
The effort comes just days after Johnson presented a step-by-step plan to slowly lift the UK’s lockdown, but said international travel wouldn’t resume until at least May 17.
In the United States, international travel remains restricted and the US State Department has advised Americans to “seriously reconsider” trips overseas.
The idea of vaccine passports isn’t new — it’s already used in many countries to prevent the spread of yellow fever. And several countries have turned to it for coronavirus, including the Seychelles, Georgia, and Romania, which are welcoming vaccinated travellers.
Several other cities and states — including Hawaii and Phuket — are looking at the idea as a way to jumpstart travel in the future.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.