Vaccine Passports: Your Questions Answered
Last week we heard that Cyprus is planning to welcome back UK tourists if they’ve had both of their COVID-19 jabs. So what does that mean for travel? Will other countries soon follow suit? Here we round up what we know and how it might affect exploring the world as we know it…
What is a vaccine passport?
Vaccine passports aren’t a new invention. Take yellow fever for example: countries including Belize, Algeria and even Australia all require visitors to present a valid yellow fever certificate if they’re travelling from a destination where the disease is rife. For coronavirus, we anticipate this could be much the same – those who have had the relevant jabs will be presented with a card or certificate to prove as such. It’s likely this “passport” could include the date of your vaccinations, the type (AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Moderna), and the batch number. In most cases, you will have had to have had your second dose of the vaccine a set amount of time before travel. At this stage this is all speculation, but we are expecting more information to come to light in the coming months.
Where will ask me for a vaccine passport?
It’s hard to know at this stage which countries will be implementing a vaccine passport system, however with Cyprus leading the charge it’s highly probable that many more will follow. Spain’s tourism minister has already admitted the country is looking into this pathway, and with Greece planning to reopen in May (all being well), they could also follow suit. Iceland, Estonia, Poland, Romania and Slovenia have all said travellers who can prove they’ve been vaccinated will be exempt from mandatory quarantine. It’s also been widely reported that the Seychelles and Thailand will, or will soon, allow entry to those who have had both doses. We will update this section with more destinations as they come to light.
Why do I need a vaccine passport?
In order to encourage safe tourism and restore confidence in the travel industry, some officials argue that this is the only feasible way to proceed, at least in the short term. With the UK’s high coronavirus numbers, it is expected that countries in mainland Europe will be cautiously welcoming Brits back this summer, and won’t want to see their own cases rise in the name of tourism.
How about the validity of a vaccine passport?
It’s tricky to say at the moment what the expiry or longevity of a hypothetical vaccine passport might be, as there’s still a lot of unknowns around how long the immunity provided by the vaccine lasts. As soon as we get more data from the government around this, we’ll update this page.
When will I need to start using a vaccine passport?
The introduction of vaccine passports isn’t set in stone yet, and there isn’t a clear timeline. If we look at Cyprus as our example however, they’ve said they will be welcoming Brits from 1st May 2021. So, if you can provide proof of your vaccination on arrival, you won’t need to quarantine or be subject to testing. However, as time progresses and the system rolls out this could, of course, change. We’ll keep you updated when we know more.
And what about COVID testing?
For now, it looks like COVID testing is here to stay. Many countries – regardless of their stance on vaccination passports – are still asking for negative tests to be presented on arrival (more on that here), and it’s possible that some countries could ask for the presentation of both a passport and a test.
I want more information on vaccine passports!
I’m afraid that’s all we have for now, but as soon as our experts get more information we’ll be updating it here. If you have any concerns about an upcoming booking and your travel requirements, please contact your Travel Consultant directly. We also highly recommend checking the specific destination advice for your country of choice on the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office website, as well as via our COVID travel restrictions map and Where’s Safe to Travel hub. For the latest news, be sure to sign up to our newsletter in the footer below.