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W.H.O Plans New Digital Vaccine Certificate For Permission To Travel In 2021

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In preparation of adjusting to a world in which COVID-19 vaccines are readily available, the travel industry is testing out procedures to establish the new protocols for travel going forward, specifically relating to the verification of travelers’ health credentials and vaccination status.

covid19 vaccination certificate

Most recently, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced being in the final development phase of their ‘Travel Pass’, while American Airlines launched a trial of their new digital health pass.

Now, the World Health Organization (WHO) is looking at the use of digital vaccine certificates to stipulate travel procedures in 2021. 

woman in mask at airport

Speaking to the press in Copenhagen, Siddhartha Datta, WHO Europe’s programme manager for vaccine-preventable diseases stated:

“We are looking very closely into the use of technology in this COVID-19 response, one of them how we can work with member states toward an e-vaccination certificate.”

Siddhartha further elaborated that any technology used for the response should conform to varying laws and ensure seamless border-crossing service to not overwhelm countries.

airport security digital temperature monitor

Pilot Project with Estonia Underway

In October, the World Health Organization signed an agreement with Estonia to work on a digitally enhanced International Certificate of Vaccination. 

The project will see vaccine recipients receiving a digital certificate, referred to as a “smart yellow card”, for use in healthcare data tracking.

While the pilot project with Estonia is being done for healthcare purposes, it appears that the WHO sees its potential in safeguarding travel, as they are now looking to the certificates to facilitate cross-border travel. 

WHO: Immunity Passports, Testing Not Enough

While the World Health Organization is looking at digital certificates of COVID-19 vaccination for travel, they are not supportive of immunity passports or rapid antigen tests for permitting international travel to combat COVID-19. 

Immunity passports are recognized through the belief that an individual that has contracted the coronavirus and recovered has built antibodies, and is thus immune to the virus. However, the WHO recommends only the vaccine to prevent transmission.

Speaking at the same meeting, WHO’s Senior Emergency Officer for Europe, Catherine Smallwood, stated:

“We do not recommend immunity passports, nor do we recommend testing as a means to prevent transmission across borders.”

In this regard, the WHO’s consideration is distinguished from other digital certificate prototypes, such as IATA’s Travel Pass and American Airlines digital health pass, as the latter allow negative test results to constitute certification, while the WHO appears to only be focusing on vaccines exclusively. 

traveler wearing mask in airport

Plan to Reduce COVID Transmission from Travel

The liability of COVID transmission from travel is one which medical experts and travel industry executives have been trying to tackle since the start of the pandemic. 

The WHO’s digital vaccine certificate, in theory, is designed to assist safe international travel for passengers by minimizing the risk for virus transmission, as currently it appears that high volumes of travel increase cases.  

This is supported by data showing surges of COVID cases following busy travel seasons, with the most recent example being the emerging second wave of COVID-19 in the US, following the country’s record setting travel week during the pandemic for Thanksgiving  

jfk airport covid

Vaccine on Brink of Approval

Plans such as the WHO’s digital vaccine certificate are underway even before the vaccine is readily available, as a means to have things ready once the vaccine finally arrives, as it is only a matter of time before the vaccine becomes an actuality and ready for distribution to the public. 

The UK has already announced approval of Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine to be administered this week. 

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is likely to authorize the Pfizer vaccine this week, while the EU is likely to give approval later this month. 

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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.  Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories


Wednesday 9th of December 2020

Total scam


Wednesday 9th of December 2020

I don't get it, this makes zero sense as the vaccine doesn't prevent transmission.


Saturday 12th of December 2020

Right, the vaccine does not only prevent transmission but does also not prevent the vaccinated individual to get infected. It only removes some of the symptoms from the affected individual. So any lifting of lockdowns based on the idea of vaccination is a false excuse. Also, the reason why higher travel numbers increases Covid cases is because it also causes higher number of tastings as so many countries require tastings. More testing leads to higher cases. In other words, it is a casedemic, not a pandemic. That is because the PCR test doesn’t test for the virus.


Tuesday 8th of December 2020

How soon, how soon! One more flight out of India and I will never fly again. At least on a commercial flight for sure


Tuesday 8th of December 2020

This is tyrannical control of humanity under the excuse of "safety." And it won't end here if we don't resist it.


Tuesday 8th of December 2020

So in other words if you don't have a phone that works in another country your screwed and if you don't get the vaccine your screwed, welcome to your new World Government were every thing you do will be tracked.