After the release of COVID-19 vaccines in most countries, some governments are planning to introduce vaccine passports for travellers, especially for international travellers who will be asked to carry their immunity passports. People travelling abroad, attending concerts, or taking cruise ships will be required to carry these passports.
However, several European countries are opposed to the introduction of vaccine passports. Their argument - digital immunity certificates will create privacy issues that will put at stake the fundamental rights of Europeans by dividing the population into different categories.
A number of private organisations around the world have already proposed to their respective governments seeking permission to create vaccine passports and make it a compulsory document while travelling. Reportedly, Innovate UK has sponsored Mvine, a deep tech company and, iProov, a leading online biometric authentication company to create and live-test immunity passports.
Rockefeller Foundation, The Commons Project, and the World Economic Forum have proposed a digital platform called CommonPass. This technology aims to create a common and secure platform for citizens to update their travel and health status.
Several countries in the EU and Schengen are either planning to make vaccination certificates mandatory or make travelling restriction-free, which indicates travellers must show proof of their vaccination details.
The countries that are willing to permit restriction-free travel or introduce vaccine passports are Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, and Sweden.
A few days ago, the Denmark and Sweden governments announced the introduction of immunity certificates. The Swedish government plans to enable digital vaccine certification by June, and Denmark has temporarily created an online registry that will help officials to track traveller&rsquos vaccination status. The website will be functional by end of February, and in due course, they will create a proper digital platform for the same.
While countries are planning to introduce digital vaccine certificates, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is against it. Previously, WHO had approved of the idea, but later in January 2021, WHO officials said digital certificates shouldn&rsquot be made a travel requirement.