Is a passport vaccine necessary for going on holidays outside your home country?

1 February 2021 By Paul Martin

Here’s a key example.

Cyprus, Romania and the Seychelles demand you’re fully vaccinated against COVID-19. These countries are now waiving the quarantine and COVID-19 testing requirements for international travelers, provided that they have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at least two weeks prior (10 days for Romania). 

Could these new rules be a sign of what travel will be like in the future, with vaccine passports required to travel? According to smartertravel.com, it’s certainly looking likely.

It’s not just destinations that are beginning to require the COVID-19 vaccine. British cruise operator Saga Cruises made waves recently when it announced that it will be requiring all passengers to have been fully vaccinated before they will be allowed to travel with them when Saga resumes sailing in May 2021. (Passengers must still take a COVID-19 test before boarding.)

Only passengers who have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine a minimum of 14 days before travel will be allowed to board, and Saga Cruises will be checking vaccine documentation at the time of boarding. There are no exemptions from this rule, including for people who are not able to get the vaccine for medical reasons.

Saga Cruises is a cruise line targeted at travelers 50 and up, and so they are banking on their clientele being among the early groups to receive the vaccination. Other cruise lines, including Norwegian, have indicated that they are considering similar measures for future travel, but Saga Cruises is the first to put a vaccine restriction in place.

 Dr Antony Fauci said he is sure that some institutions will make coronavirus vaccinations compulsory, and it’s “quite possible” that the COVID-19 vaccine could become a required travel vaccine when visiting other countries.

Speaking to Newsweek, America’s top infectious disease expert said: “Everything will be on the table for discussion” when asked if he will be discussing the possibility of introducing COVID-19 vaccine passports and potential mandatory vaccinations at a local level, including in schools, in his role as chief medical adviser to President-elect Biden.

The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) noted: “It’s not up to me to make a decision. But these are all things that will be discussed [under the Biden administration].”

The immunologist doesn’t believe there will be a national COVID-19 vaccine mandate because “we almost never mandate things federally [with regards to health],” he told Newsweek.

“I’m not sure it’s [the COVID-19 vaccine] going to be mandatory from a central government standpoint, like federal government mandates. But there are going to be individual institutions that I’m sure are going to mandate it.Dr. Anthony Fauci Outlines His Top Priority for Working With Joe BidenREAD MOREDr. Anthony Fauci Outlines His Top Priority for Working With Joe Biden

“For example, influenza and Hepatitis B vaccines are mandated at many hospitals. Here at the NIH [National Institutes of Health], I would not be allowed to see patients if I didn’t get vaccinated every year with flu and get vaccinated once with Hepatitis [B]. I have to get certified every year…if I didn’t, I couldn’t see patients.NEWSWEEK SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS >

Could COVID-19 vaccines be mandatory for school? The infectious diseases expert believes “That is possible but that’s something that’s mandated at the state level and city level. A citywide school system might require it in some cities but not other cities. And that’s what I mean by things not being done centrally but locally.”

In mid-December, Israel announced it will be issuing a “green passport” to residents who have received the COVID-19 vaccine. The passport will lift some restrictions, including mandatory quarantine following exposure to an infected person, and allow residents to travel abroad without having to be tested for the virus, as currently required.

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