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Airlines set sights on digital health passport for COVID-19 vaccine

The travel industry is moving ahead with plans to ensure a coronavirus vaccine means tourism and travel, both domestically and internationally, can quickly be revived.

Industry leaders are coordinating their efforts to create a digital passport that would say whether a passenger has been vaccinated for COVID-19.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced this week it is in the final phase of development for what it hopes will be universally accepted documentation that in turn could boost confidence among wary travelers.

IATA Travel Pass

“Testing is the first key to enable international travel without quarantine measures. The second key is the global information infrastructure needed to securely manage, share and verify test data matched with traveler identities in compliance with border control requirements,” Alexandre de Juniac, IATA CEO, said in a statement on Monday.

The pass would enable travelers to find verified testing centers and labs at their point of departure that meet the standards and requirements of their destination to avoid quarantine rules and travel restrictions.

Drugmaker AstraZeneca announced Monday that its vaccine candidate, developed by Oxford University, is 70 percent effective on average but could be as high as 90 percent. Two other vaccines — one from Moderna and the other from Pfizer and BioNTech — both recently reported 95 percent efficacy rates.

When asked about how airlines are going to handle the rollout of vaccines, including how they would know if someone has been vaccinated, Airlines for America, which represents major commercial carriers, did not give a direct answer, saying only that U.S. airlines are “committed to restoring service in a manner that prioritizes the safety and wellbeing of our passengers and employees.”

Australian airline Qantas is reportedly making plans to require passengers get vaccinated before any international flights. CEO Alan Joyce said recently he thinks other carriers should follow suit. Read Full Article >

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