by Michael Snyder, End Of The American Dream:
International travel will soon look far different than it once did. Now that multiple vaccines for COVID-19 have been rushed through the development process, it is just a matter of time before they start being widely distributed. In fact, we are being told that the rollout for COVID-19 vaccines here in the United States will likely begin some time in the middle of December. There will be millions of people that will be quite eager to rush out and get injected, but of course there will be millions of others that never intend to get vaccinated under any circumstances. Unfortunately, those that choose not to get vaccinated could soon find themselves being unable to travel internationally.
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For months, there has been speculation about the possibility of some sort of “COVID passport” for international travel, but now it is being reported that such a thing is actually “in the final development phase”…
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said Monday it’s “in the final development phase” of a mobile “digital passport” app that would tell airlines if international travelers had been vaccinated against COVID-19. The app would help “get people traveling again safely,” IATA’s Nick Careen said in a statement, by “giving governments confidence that systematic COVID-19 testing can work as a replacement for quarantine requirements.”
Needless to say, the International Air Transport Association will be strongly urging all carriers to use this new “digital passport” in the months ahead.
But will the airlines go along?
In Australia, Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce has already made it quite clear that he expects international travelers to prove that they have been vaccinated…
“We are looking at changing our terms and conditions to say for international travelers, that we will ask people to have the vaccination before they get on the aircraft,” Joyce told Australia’s Network Nine television.
And Korean Air is taking a similar stance…
Jill Chung, a spokesperson for Korean Air, said Tuesday there’s a real possibility that airlines will require that passengers be vaccinated. She said that’s because governments are likely to require vaccinations as a condition for lifting quarantine requirements for new arrivals.
Here in the United States, the major airlines are not committing one way or the other just yet…
When asked if American Airlines would implement such a policy, a company spokesperson said that while the airline is pleased that vaccine development is moving forward, it’s too early to comment on policies related to a COVID-19 vaccine. A spokesperson from Delta couldn’t share specifics either, and noted that the entire pandemic has been unpredictable.
A spokesperson for Southwest said that the airline “will continue monitoring public health information from the CDC, the latest scientific research, and insights from our internal and external experts to guide our operational policies as we work to support the well-being of our customers and employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Jet Blue and United did not respond to a request for comment.
But if the federal government ultimately decides to order the airlines to go along with this new program, you know that they will fall in line.
And once “COVID passports” are in place for international travel, how long will it be before they start being required for domestic travel?