Following a year of infamously strange and unprecedented times, the world’s near future looks set to remain COVID-19 dominated. Noted by the Oxford English Dictionary most used words of 2020, ‘unprecedented’ is one way for sure to describe series of lockdowns, escalating death tolls and creeping mutant COVID-19 strains that are beginning to sting around the globe.
Whilst Europe, North America and Australia amongst other wealthy countries such as Israel have begun their large scale rollouts of the coronavirus vaccine, there are many poorer countries yet to embark on any vaccination endeavours. The World Health Organisation, fondly known as WHO, is working with UNICEF as well as other partners on a global ‘vaccine country readiness and delivery’ plan that will hopefully help to see the world vaccinated on a near simultaneous level, ensuring that lower income countries don’t get left behind and also to prevent mutant strains from reentering previously vaccinated populations.
As the world gets ready to roll up its sleeve for a vaccine jab in its metaphorical arm, travel companies and governments alike have been working on what has been dubbed the ‘vaccine passport’. Although a controversial proposal, there seems limited other options for how to open up again international travel around the globe. Vaccine passports therefore are being fronted as an opportunity for passengers to travel safely, as well as prevent frontline workers in airports and air staff on the airplanes themselves.
Proposed implementations for a vaccine passport however have been inconsistent and there is so far not one unified approach to what counts as a passport. It does seem however that the passport, or travel pass as it is otherwise being known, will be digital. This should allow passengers to present a negative test pre-travel, but a single worldwide app to use has yet to be delivered. Concerns from users about digital privacy and that could be fully accessible to people around the globe despite income equality are current challenges for developers.