The entire world is in full stride to control and manage the virus’ spread. The virus is still increasing in unmanageable numbers in many countries since the past year. While all this is growing at an alarming rate, there has been some positive news. The vaccination drives worldwide are proving to be the only viable solution. The Covid-19 vaccines are here now after a year of development. It was also one of the world’s fastest vaccine development. Due to the alarming situation, scientists worldwide developed this vaccine in a short time.
These drives and continuing vaccination is excellent news for the tourism sector. While everything else shifted to the online space, travelling didn’t. It is the one thing that you cannot enjoy on the web. You cannot just get the feel of getting out of your home and exploring on a screen. Escaping that very screen is one of the benefits of travelling. The only way around to safe travelling is vaccination.
A new term, Vaccine Passports, has come into place. Let us see what they are:
What are Vaccine Passports?
A Vaccine Passport, like the usual one, is a document showing a person’s vaccination records. It has been a topic of discussion to make it a requirement for entering a country. It may be in a physical form. But, it will most probably be a digital document recording the details of the person.
If enforced, travellers would mandatorily need vaccination and proof of it to travel. While it is a great health measure, it may not be fair to everyone. There are still discussions about the ethicality of a vaccine passport.
For example, to board direct flights to Goa from USA, you would need to give proof of vaccination. While it will help control the virus, it can be largely unfair to many people. Vaccines are still not available in many countries. Also, many people are not still eligible for vaccination. In cases like these, you cannot make a passport mandatory as it will trouble many. Let us discuss the different aspects of this situation.
What about the countries which have not developed the vaccine yet?
There are still many countries where vaccines aren’t available. These countries are mainly underdeveloped and face a lack of funds. Due to this, the vaccine development process is much slower there, and it is not ready. It is unfair for these people to make vaccine passports mandatory. It will further act as another thing to push them into a more backwards state.
While they can import vaccines, the costs to cover the entire population is massive. An underdeveloped nation cannot afford to import all the stock without significant aid.
What if the traveller isn’t eligible to receive the vaccine yet?
Many classes of the population aren’t eligible to get the vaccine. The process is begin conducted through phases, and it may even take more than a year until everyone gets their turn. It is not in their own hands if they are not in a specific group.
- In most countries, old aged people are the priority. It leaves a large population of young and middle-aged people who are the travelling population.
- The travellers are mostly young people who aren’t eligible for a shot yet. It is unfair to them and the travel economies to make vaccination passports compulsory.
- People with specific illnesses or condition may not be allowed to receive their dose yet. It is because the vaccine can have adverse effects in certain situations. These people will also face difficulties if vaccination is made mandatory.
- Families usually travel together for trips. But, an entire family might not be vaccinated right now. It will be further harmful to the travel sector in this case. They will cancel their vacations if they have to leave someone behind.
What will be the consequences of sharing private health information?
A passport would indicate other critical health conditions of a passenger. The information on the passport will be made available to the airline or other authorities. This can lead to an invasion of privacy for the person.
They can use the person’s private health information against him or share this information. It will be a significant threat to privacy and can lead to further problems. Also, some people might not be comfortable sharing this information. It can lead to problems for such people and would be unfair to them.
What about people who don’t have a smartphone?
It may be a surprise but, many people still don’t have smartphones. Many people from underdeveloped and third world countries don’t own the latest devices. A digital vaccine passport will create unfair problems for them. We cannot assume that every person will be able to manage and carry the passport with them.
The authorities need to consider such problems. It will help derive a better and fair solution. While it may be better to allow a physical document, it may cause inconvenience.
What about the people who aren’t willing to get the vaccine dose?
There are many people worldwide who are unwilling to get the vaccine. It may be their personal beliefs or scepticism; we still cannot leave them. It is their own choice to opt for the vaccination, and we cannot deny this right. We need to consider such people into the picture before making any rules.
It is better to take the opinions and situation of people into account before arriving at a final decision. There are different beliefs and views about vaccines worldwide. A person’s belief shouldn’t be used against them and restrict their travelling.
What about the virus mutations and if the vaccine isn’t effective for it?
The Covid-19 virus is constantly mutating, and there are instances of new mutations. Many countries are battling with new strains which might not be in the reach of the vaccine. Even if the entire world gets the vaccine, a new strain can render away the practice. It will continue to affect the people and spread rapidly.
A vaccine passport doesn’t seem like a practical solution in such a case. It will only complicate things for travellers without many benefits. The authorities should only implement the rule if it will indeed contain the spread. If the mutation reaches the country even after the law, it will be of no use.
Will the passports make the people careless?
The vaccine passport can make people feel like they have nothing to worry about. While it can increase their chances of not getting the virus, it is still not a surety. None of the vaccines offers complete protection. A rule like vaccine passports will give a sense of security to the people which might not be there. They still have to follow all the precautions to protect themselves from the virus.
Any carelessness can create problems for the people and the entire country. For example, people boarding Business class flights to Abu Dhabi may follow the rules only for the sake of the rules. They will ditch their masks if someone isn’t seeing them over. It will risk their protection and make them susceptible to the virus.
All these questions are crucial for implementing a rule like vaccine passports. It will help take into account many marginalised views and help get at a better solution. Vaccine passports may or may not be the ethical solution. But what matters is to follow the precautions and protect yourself till everything is back to normal.
Read This Topic – Ultimate Guide for Backpacking Travel to Andaman