Covid: should vaccine be compulsory for international flights?

Published by Caroline J. · Published on 1 December 2020 at 14h13
As Europe is to proceed to the first vaccinations against coronavirus during “first quarter 2021”, some airlines could require proof of anti-Covid-19 vaccine to allow passengers to board the plane. Should upcoming anti-Covid vaccine be compulsory to travel and for international flights? Answers.

The arrival of covid vaccine could lead to many consequences for the future, and especially our way of traveling. As the air sector has been highly struggling since the health crisis broke out (a 92% decrease for international flights in comparison with previous levels), included stranded aircrafts, vaccine against coronavirus could enable the activity to resume quickly. But under what conditions?

Some airlines could make the famous upcoming vaccine against Covid-19 compulsory. Australian airline Qantas CEO Alan Joyce is one of them. “For international travelers that we will ask people to have a vaccination before they get on the aircraft” he tells Australian channel 9Now. Qantas CEO also added: “I think that's going to be a common thing talking to my colleagues in other airlines around the globe.” Proof that being vaccinated against Covid-19 could become compulsory for several airlines.

But Jean-Baptiste Djebbari - Minister delegate for Transports - did not try to hide his disagreement. Interviewed by LCI on the matter this December 1, 2020, Djebbari said the airline spoke "a bit too swiftly" and it was not "supported by the Australian government. [...] This is neither an airline nor a rail operator that decides of the compulsory feature of vaccines or not, but health and governmental authorities" he added.

A few days ago already, three global airline alliances – Oneworld, Star Alliance, and Sky Team – said that tests could be part of a globally harmonized approach. Aim? Enabling to resume international flights and limit quarantines, often limiting for travelers. For the record, so far, screen test procedures were subject to different experiments depending on countries.

These three alliances also speak about a digital health passport, designed by CommonPass. Developed by The Commons Project, this Smartphone application enable to safely check – with a QR code to scan – that passengers have complied with the required health guidelines (test or vaccine).

In an interview with the Telegraph, Brad Perkins – head doctor of the project – tells more on the matter. “As vaccines become widely available, many countries will require travelers to show proof of vaccination upon arrival. We created CommonPass to allow sharing of Covid test and vaccination results in a secure manner while maintaining confidentiality” he said.

A concept that seems to please Chinese. This weekend, during the virtually-held G20, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed to set up a global system based on a QR code to check the virologic status of each traveler before they board a plane. Even though China already uses this system based on PCR tests, other nations rather open borders to limited countries, where the virus is no longer highly active.

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