What Is a COVID-19 Immunity Passport—and Who Will Get One?

What Is a COVID-19 Immunity Passport

What Is a COVID-19 Immunity Passport

An immunity passport could prove an individual has been vaccinated, and that they could be given more freedom about gathering publicly places and traveling. Here's the talk .

Now that a COVID-19 vaccine looks set to start out rolling out across the US within weeks, the discussion has turned as to if some sort of vaccination or immunity "passport" could be required.

The idea is that when the vaccine is widely available, the passport would be issued to people that are vaccinated to allow them to move more freely, both locally and globally, by allowing access to indoor restaurants, movie theaters, and international travel.

At this stage, it's all still speculation. However, the International air transportation Association (IATA), an airline trade association that represents 290 airlines worldwide, said on November 23 that it had been within the final stages of developing a digital vaccine passport for travelers. The IATA Travel Pass will let travelers share their vaccination status and COVID-19 test results with airlines and border authorities, via a contactless passport app.

In Australia, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce told Network Nine television last month, "We are watching changing our terms and conditions to mention for international travelers, that we'll ask people to possess the vaccination before they get on the aircraft."

South Korea's largest airline, Korean Air, might do an equivalent . Spokesperson Jill Chung said governments are likely to need vaccinations as a condition for lifting quarantine requirements for brand spanking new arrivals, ABC News reported. However, Chung added that this wasn't a matter for airlines to "independently decide," which it had been up to governments to work out when and the way to reopen borders safely.

A vaccine passport is nothing new

Some countries already require immunization certificates for diseases like polio and yellow jack to stop global spread. And decades ago, international travelers carried "International Certificates of Vaccination" approved by the planet Health Organization and sponsored by the US Department of Health, Education and Welfare Public Health Services.

"It worked well—travelers carried the record with them and used it to enter countries that required proof of immunizations," former hospital CEO, health care advisor, and biomedical ethicist Michael Hunn tells Health.

Immunization passport benefits are pretty clear

Basically, a vaccine or immunization passport is that the quickest and easiest method to prove you have been vaccinated. "It will make it easier to know who is vaccinated and who isn't ," communicable disease expert Amesh A. Adalja, MD, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Maryland, tells Health. "Those who aren't vaccinated may need to undergo testing or a quarantine once they travel internationally, while those that were vaccinated may have an easier entry mechanism."

Hunn agrees. "As states, countries, and governments come to grips with new and evolving viruses and diseases, having a secure , secure, accessible, and coordinated record of immunizations appears to form sense," he says. "The advantages are absolutely clear, for the continued health and safety of people and countries, the verification of immunizations against diseases (including COVID-19) is critical."

What about COVID-19 vaccine passport apps?

There's a lot of mention these apps, which might contain information concerning your COVID status—including test results and details of your vaccine if you've had one. it isn't clear exactly how they'd work, but the thought seems to be that they'd act as quite a health pass you'll present at an airport or public place to realize access. 

Several are in development. CommonPass, which "lets individuals demonstrate their COVID status," are going to be unrolled this month for passengers on flights from ny , Boston, London, and Hong Kong; JetBlue, Lufthansa, Swiss International Airlines, United Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic are among the airlines participating . In October, the app was successfully trialed on Cathay Pacific Airways and United Airlines flights between Hong Kong , Singapore, London, and ny .

The International Chamber of Commerce is developing AOKpass, which the ICC describes as "a scalable solution that permits governments and border authorities to reopen cross border travel safely and efficiently." 

But more data is required 

For many people, it's just too early to be talking a few vaccine passport or app—we don't even know yet if immunization stops someone from being contagious. So far, the vaccine trials show that the shots are very effective at preventing illness, but more research is required to determine whether or not they also prevent someone from spreading the virus.

"It's unclear if the primary generation vaccines provide sterilizing immunity," Dr. Adalja says. "What is obvious is that they prevent symptomatic disease. There are plans to conduct studies to work out whether these vaccines prevent asymptomatic infection and contagiousness, but the results will likely not be known for sometime." He points out that the info from the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine trials suggest that it can prevent asymptomatic infection and thus contagiousness in some recipients. (This is one among several other vaccines seeking approval by regulatory authorities round the world.)

Passport or not, immunization records are crucial

A record of immunization has other benefits besides foreign travel. "It will help to make sure accuracy of dates for any future booster vaccinations or the power to notify vaccine recipients of any discovered negative effects over decades," Hunn says.

The federal has said it'll issue a vaccine card for this purpose. "We've found out everything [in] a draconian process, where once we sent out the ancillary kits which have needles and syringes, we've included paper cards to be filled out and... given to the individuals, reminding them of their next vaccine maturity ," Army Gen. Gustave Perna, Warp Speed's chief operating officer, said at an appointment on December 2, as reported by NPR.

And within the UK, where the vaccine rollout has already started, the National Health Service (NHS) will provide a COVID-19 ID card to each UK resident who has the vaccine. the knowledge on the cardboard will include the sort of vaccine, batch number, the date it had been administered, and a message to remind the tolerant the date of their crucial follow-up dose. This information are going to be registered on an NHS database.

However, these paper documents aren't an equivalent as a "passport" to be used for international travel or to realize entry to bars and restaurants. This conversation is probably going to continue over subsequent few months, with every country making its own recommendations and plans.

The information during this story is accurate as of press time. However, because the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it's possible that some data have changed since publication. While Health is trying to stay our stories as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to remain informed on news and proposals for his or her own communities by using the CDC, WHO, and their local public health department as resources.

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