Exposing Inequalities With A Vaccine Travel Passport

Many developed countries are in the midst of a vaccine roll out and there has been chatter here and there about a so called vaccine travel passport. In these conversations, people compare it to the yellow fever vaccine passport. It seems bizarre to me that we are comparing this COVID19 vaccine which, let’s face it, is still quite elementary and comparing it to the yellow fever vaccine which has many more years of data under it’s belt and is a get once and be protected vaccine.

Photo by Mat Napo on Unsplash

The data is still coming in as to how long the COVID19 vaccine is actually effective for and that it is still possible to spread the virus even after vaccination.

Yet, the solution seems to be putting in place a travel passport. A passport that just shows you’ve been vaccinated but still at the risk of carrying the virus and spreading it to people who are not or cannot be vaccinated for a myriad of reasons. A passport that only shows that you’ve been vaccinated for this strain of the virus. Is the idea here to have people from developed countries vaccinated so that they can go out and attend to developing countries who rely on tourism for much of their income? Or is it so citizens of developed countries can only travel to other developed countries?

It’s a passport that only those in wealthy countries will have and I don’t believe for a minute that it will allow you to travel to any country as you please. “Travel bubbles” will soon open and not to every neighbouring country. Only those that politically make sense of course. The jury is out on which company’s vaccine will be “accepted” in this passport scheme. Obviously, this will also most probably be a political matter. Strengthening of ties and allies.

Soon enough, we’re going to need to be vaccinated for all strains every year. Where does it stop? Do they want to implement a passport for the flu as well? Coronovirus’s have been around before and will continue to be around.

And why are private companies all of sudden getting a say on all of this? QANTAS have been very vocal about the need for all passengers to be vaccinated as a condition of travel. Whilst the World Travel and Tourism Council are against this. I can see it already, airlines marketing their flight as virus free and only vaccinated individuals are allowed but please pay premium to fly with us. Fly with us and us only as we are certified *insert some made up metrics or award here*.

At the beginning it was all about reducing the number of severe cases and from overloading our health care system.

And now, I’m not sure what it’s about anymore.

32 thoughts on “Exposing Inequalities With A Vaccine Travel Passport

  1. Yes I agree with all this, but I suppose I will have it if only to travel to the UK to see my parents who are both nearly 90. They have both had Covid and survived!

  2. People are jumping the gun with travel and COVID-19. It’s ridiculous. While it kills me not to have traveled internationally in almost two years, I also know the importance of trying to get this COVID-19 situation under control and making sure that our respective country’s stabilized from all of this trauma. One thing at a time, folks!

  3. Typical of the business community to see this as a kind of commerical opportunity. It seems they are very keen to recoup losses at the expense of a long term big picture humanitarian solution.
    It is regrettable if it comes to that. I am glad I did so much of my travelling in years gone by as I don’t see any confidence in travelling for some time, if ever. It will have to be eliminated like Polio completely – and with a virus – mutations are always possible. Nefarious interests will know see a way to paralyse society for their own purposes.

    1. Yep, it’s hard to believe who is running decisions sometimes now. I was also reflecting on my past travels recently and am glad I got the chance (and ignored all advice as to why I shouldn’t travel). I hope it will be next year that there will be the first signs of travel internationally allowed. We really need to learn to live with this virus and stop stopping the world.

      PS. I’ve recently found a heap of nordic shows on SBS On Demand. Thought you might be interested!

      1. I like that you have followed your intuition and travelled when you felt the wanderlust. Likewise, it was for me. Despite criticism from family.
        A few of us were discussing it may be five years before we can safely travel unrestrained. Apparently, in Spain they just don’t care about social distancing and continue as if all is normal. I was thinking of visiting Portugal one day but that made me rethink the plans completely.
        Thank you for thinking of me in your Nordic Noir viewing.
        I think I have watched all the Nordic shows that are on SBS on demand! I eagerly await any new ones. Highly recommend The Bridge, Borgen, The Killing, Home Ground, Below the Surface, Trapped or Keiler Street. What are you watching first?

      2. I’m realising more and more that I need to follow intuition more and less of what is the norm. Interesting, it’s fine if their communities are immune but if we go over and need to be hospitalised- that would be a nightmare of a holiday.
        Hahaha! I’ve spent the past rainy week watching Agent Hamilton, Beforeigners and currently on Trapped. I’ve like them all so far! I see there’s still many more I need to get through.

      3. Beforeigners is one I have yet to watch! Trapped is a little slow in parts but it is great to see Iceland and spot all the locations I have visited! Not a bad plot as I recall.
        I have had two friend receive the vaccine this week and both are reporting ill effects from the A-Z vaccine. Nothing serious. Just fevers, aches, headaches and heavy cold symptoms. May be coincedental perhaps.

      4. Beforeigners has a plot line that I’ve never come across before. It’s been refreshing watching these show.s Such views in Iceland. I don’t recognise any of the places (not that I’ve been).
        Those symptoms are not odd ones to get from a vaccine though.

      5. I watched the first episode last night. It didn’t grab me at first, as I don’t like unbelievable plot lines, but then I do like the story that are unfolding behind it. So I shall persist for a while longer.

      6. The Killing? That series had me on the edge of my seat – each week presented with a new piece of the puzzle. Each week thinking I had solved the puzzle until the new piece of information was presented, usually in the final moments of each episode. Outstanding television!

      7. Yes. I agree. I watched it on SBS TV so we had to wait a whole week for the next episode. It was both agonising and at the same time better than having the temptation to binge watch.

  4. The science seems to say that that a vaccinated person has almost no chance of being able to infect someone else. Vaccines are nearly 100% effective at preventing death.

    Tourism is a big part of the economies of many countries, primarily poorer ones. People in those poorer countries are suffering terribly without tourist income and those governments aren’t able to support the populations with massive spending sprees as in the richer countries.

    You are correct that much remains unknown about vaccines and variants. It will take a long time to determine the answer to all of the questions to an absolute scientific certainty, if that is even possible. Meanwhile many people in poorer countries are suffering greatly. It would be nice if the WHO or some other organization took take the lead and developed reasonable rules for vaccine passports. If it doesn’t and maybe even if it does, countries and businesses will act independently in their own interests.

    Maybe the use of vaccine passports could expand gradually in order to get real life data on the questions that are unresolved. Like other measures used to protect populations, if difficulties related to vaccine passports develop, they can be scaled back or halted until measures can be found to address the issues.

    This is a subject that merits a lot of thought and discussion. Thanks for a great post.

    1. Hmmm, I’ve read a lot about people who have been reinfected despite having already had COVID19. I know the vaccines are suppose to be quite effective but as with viruses and their mutations, it’s not 100% a guarantee.

      Yes, I wonder what the plan is with tourism between the rich and poorer countries. So far, the responses have only been within countries (makes sense to protect the national interest) but there will come a time when we will need to think of our neighbours.

      You raise a great point that hopefully there will be directive from WHO for example about travel but at the end of the day, it will be Governments who are able to enforce them. I don’t think businesses should be able to have a big say in these matters.

      That’s a great idea to trial the vaccine passport. I also read the other day that EU are hoping to implement one for the coming summer. That will be interesting to follow.

      Thank you for your comment and the points you have also raised.

  5. Good discussion. I just had my second shot this morning, with a sense of relief. But I agree, it’s difficult to set across the board requirements for travel when there is so much we still don’t know. And I’m uneasy about the inequity it creates. I’m not in a hurry to travel again, so will let it all shake out for a while before getting out there.

    1. So glad to hear Ruth that you’ve had your second shot. Reading of some very fast roll out of the vaccines abroad. Here’s hoping that a lot of thought goes into the travel once it starts up again.

  6. Pingback: Restriction Free! – Lingo in Transit

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