Covid: What would a 'vaccine passport' allow you to do?

The UK Government will “help facilitate” a ‘vaccine passport’ to allow people to travel and potentially more, according to minister James Cleverly.

It is hoped the concept would allow those who have received the Covid-19 vaccine to live freer lives and therefore be a boost to the economy in time for the summer.

Not only does the vaccine prevent someone from getting Covid-19 symptoms, it also has been shown to reduce the risk in giving it to others, too.

Denmark and Sweden have already announced the launch of similar programmes. 

The hope in Sweden that they could introduce a viral certificate system by June, allowing greater freedoms to the inoculated. 

Currently, travellers to many countries are forced to prove they have they have recently tested negative for Covid and even then are required to spend time in quarantine. 

What would a ‘vaccine passport’ allow me to do?

A number of countries have already said they would welcome the introduction of UK tourists this summer thanks to the progress made with the vaccination programme.

Greece has confirmed it would embrace vaccinated visitors from the UK as it looks to boost its tourism industry after a fallow year, allowing the inoculate to forego any quarantine rules.

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Denmark’s proposed system would include a ‘digital vaccine passport’ that inoculated people could have on their phones, permitting them to travel. 

“It will be the extra passport that you will be able to have on your mobile phone that documents that you have been vaccinated,” Danish Finance Minister Morten Boedskov said.

Microsoft has already started working on an encrypted vaccine certificate which can be stored in a person’s phone ‘wallet’, and be authenticated as a QR code.

The World Economic Forum and the Common Projects Foundation are currently testing the ‘CommonPass’, which can state if you have had a negative test in the last 72 hours.

In Hungary, those who have been vaccinated receive a plastic card which allows them to stay out past national curfew times.

A list of countries who have already shown support for a digital vaccine passport:

  • Cyprus

  • Denmark

  • Greece

  • Hungary

  • Iceland

  • Poland

  • Portugal

  • Slovakia

  • Spain

  • Sweden

What else might the passport allow me to do?

The system could permit a return for fans to sporting events, as long as they can prove they have received a vaccine.

At the Super Bowl in Florida, for example, a reduced crowd including 7,500 inoculated medical professionals will be allowed to attend at the weekend.

Scanable codes could allow sports fans back into stadiums. Credit: PA

The idea could also be spread to other activities, such as going to restaurants, bars or the cinema, for example, with visitors being able to prove their vaccination with their vaccine passport.

As the Test and Trace app showed, it is possible to operate a similar system in hospitality establishments.

Has this happened before?

For decades, people have needed to prove they are vaccinated against yellow fever, rubella and other diseases in order to enter certain countries.

The yellow fever vaccination card. Credit: PA

Travellers need to have a physical yellow card in order to prove they have had the appropriate jabs. 

There has, however, never been a digital version of this, meaning it could take time to get it off the ground for those vaccinated against Covid.