Proof of COVID vaccination to travel? It depends on where you're headed

Virus Outbreak US
Posted at 8:34 PM, May 03, 2021

It's a hotly debated topic, and many wonder if they'll need proof of COVID vaccination to travel.

The short answer is it all depends on where you're headed.

Royal Caribbean has already announced that guests need to be vaccinated.

Universities are talking about it too.

Rutgers has already announced that returning students will be required to be vaccinated.

The University of California and the Cal State collegiate system also plan to implement vaccine requirements for the fall.

But, if you're talking about summer travel and want to fly, it's a loaded and complicated issue.
"Everybody is asking for something differently at the moment," said Nick Careen, senior vice president of airports, passenger, cargo, and security at International Air Transport Association (IATA).

He's also working on the restart program, which is doing precisely what it sounds like: restarting the travel industry.

And that, he says, is no easy feat.

But, like anything these days, there's an app for that. It's called a travel pass, and it will help travelers manage and share the required covid health information.

"That's all we need. We need governments to accept that and airlines to embrace that, and then everybody can play in this space," Careen said. "We believe we have the best product because we're utilizing existing systems, and we're ahead of the game in terms of development."

IATA doesn't support making vaccines mandatory for travel, but the group knows it has to be prepared for any and all requirements.

"We're trying to keep it as simple as possible," Careen said. "It's a bit daunting when you look at all the various requirements around the world."

Rather than long lines at airports and many people congregating to show their vaccine cards or proof of testing, IATA hopes the travel pass will help move things along for both passengers and airlines.

Zane Kerby, president, and CEO of the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), said that some of their travel advisors report that 40% of their clients are brand new.

"We don't feel that someone needs a vaccination to travel, but they should be able to prove that they don't have the virus if they plan to travel," Kerby said.

ASTA said some people are getting vaccinated so they can travel.

"There are a couple of different audiences here that need to be considered," Kerby said. "One is the person themselves, their employer, and health officials here and abroad wherever you're going that need to be satisfied that you're not going to take the virus with you or bring it home."

Kerby said regardless of the vaccine debate, you'll need to do your homework or get an advisor to help you research the rules and regulations of your destination.