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You May Need These Health Documents to Travel Now

You may need proof of a negative test—or your vaccination—to travel.

With travel reopening soon, you may be wondering if you need proof of vaccination—and if so, what that looks like. "As more people get vaccinated, Americans are asking the question, how will I be able to demonstrate reliably that I've been vaccinated?" said Andy Slavitt, senior adviser to the COVID-19 response coordinator. "And we have a couple of core beliefs about that. One is that it's not the role of the government to hold that data and to do that. But we do believe that, where that gets done, there is a right way. These should be private. The data should be secure. Access to it should be free. It should be available both digitally and in paper and in multiple languages, and it should be open source. So, those are the right kind of principles for someone to be able…to demonstrate that they have had a vaccine. And we know that there are efforts that are underway, led by nonprofit collaboratives and the private sector, all working on exactly that type of thing." Read on to see what options are being considered—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus


You May Need Proof of Negative Test

Woman holds a swab into her mouth and holding a medical tube for the coronavirus home test.

"In the absence of a very active role for government businesses that stand to financially benefit will likely be the ones pushing for certification," Leana Wen, an emergency physician and public health professor at George Washington University, tells USA Today. "A cruise line might insist, for instance, that all its passengers and crew show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test. Even a restaurant or hotel might use it as a selling point if all their staff and guests were vaccinated." 


You May Need a Vaccine Passport

Female patient smiling behind the face mask and with her eyes, while getting flu shot

"A vaccine passport would provide proof that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19 and might also include data on any recent negative tests for the coronavirus," according to USA Today. "Vaccine passports need to be free, and available to people who don't have internet access or smartphones."


Israel Has an App Already

Woman, wearing mask while talking on a mobile phone.

"Israel's vaccine passport was released on February 21, to help the country emerge from a month-long lockdown," reports MIT Technology Review. "Vaccinated people can download an app that displays their 'green pass' when they are asked to show it. The app can also display proof that someone has recovered from COVID-19." 


Then International Air Transport Association is Working on a "Travel Pass"

IATA travel pass on a mobile phone.

"Informing passengers on what tests, vaccines and other measures they require prior to travel, details on where they can get tested and giving them the ability to share their tests and vaccination results in a verifiable, safe and privacy-protecting manner is the key to giving governments the confidence to open borders," says The IATA, aka the International Air Transport Association. "To address this challenge IATA is working on launching the IATA Travel Pass, a digital platform for passengers." A similar app called CommonPass may collaborate with CLEAR, the existing fast-pass system, to track this as well.


British Airways is Calling for a "Travel Pass"

Fleet of Boeings 747 of British Airways standing on the apron of London Heathrow airport.

"British Airways owner IAG has called for digital health passes 'to reopen our skies safely' as it posted a record loss for 2020 due to Covid disruption," says the BBC. "The pass is an app that verifies a passenger has had the Covid-19 tests or vaccines required to enter a country. It also verifies they were administered by an approved authority." No matter your travel plans, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Emilia Paluszek
Emilia specializes in human biology and psychology at the University at Albany. Read more about Emilia