“Vaccine Passport”: Will you need a health-related stamp of approval to travel?

Vaccine passports are sparking a worldwide debate.
Vaccine passports are sparking a worldwide debate.(NBC National)
Published: Mar. 18, 2021 at 10:43 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Will travelers be required to flash a badge confirming they’re Covid vaccinated to board an international flight?

Experts said it’s not a far-fetched idea.

The United States already requires a Covid negative test to enter the country.

For that reason, requiring a vaccine passport to travel internationally could soon become a reality, according to a UW-Madison professor emerita of law and bioethics, Alta Charo.

Vaccine passport: A digital travel pass loaded with Covid-19 health information giving you the green light to fly internationally, if you get the shot.

The International Air Transport Association’s app is in the testing stage just in case proof of vaccination to fly out the country becomes law.

“I don’t know that it will get used as much as people imagine. It’s complicated,” Charo said.

She said a health-related stamp of approval for international travel is nothing new.

“Typically you might need to get for example a yellow fever vaccination before going to certain parts of the southern hemisphere,” she said.

She said as far as enforcing proof-of-vaccination for domestic travel, the burden outweighs the benefits.

“Domestically we have both a constitutional and a cultural sense of a right to travel, and it puts a very heavy burden on the government before any kind of restriction on travel can be adopted,” Charo said.

She said requiring proof-of-vaccination at restaurants, sporting events or other public gatherings is highly unlikely. She added requiring vaccines can generate resistance creating more challenges in our country.

“It’s important to note that the more that we require something, the more we begin to get resistance,” Charo said. “I do worry about that kind of backlash when you take a heavy hand to this kind of field.”

Charo said requiring the Covid vaccine to do certain things could impact communities who are being vaccinated at slower rates or don’t have access.

She said it’s important to proceed with caution with this idea or it could widen the inequality gap.

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