Covid vaccine passport: Which countries could ask people for a vaccine passport?

Matt Hancock discusses possible coronavirus vaccine passports

Covid vaccination programmes have gathered steam in countries around the world; among them the UK. Increased uptake has accelerated calls for a return to ‘normal’, with people seeing the jab as a way out of lockdown. Although luxuries like a summer holiday seem like a distant dream, some countries have toyed with introducing a ‘vaccine passport’.

Which countries could ask people for a vaccine passport?

Total vaccination in the UK recently passed 20 percent, with several of the country’s priority cohorts near full first-dose coverage.

As the country climbs closer to complete uptake, Covid will find it harder to cling on, and if jabs successfully curtail transmission, will make the country one of the safest in the world infection-wise.

But the question will remain as to whether Brits should stay hemmed in, or allowed to visit other less-protected countries.

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Vaccine passports would serve as a potential answer to this question.

In theory, they would be documents which show people have had a vaccine, and as such would pose no threat to other country’s concerted attempts to beat the virus.

A recent report from the Times suggested the UK Foreign Office was looking into the concept.

And other countries have expressed an interest as well, among them Greece.

The sun-soaked Mediterranean tourist hotspot was amongst the first to do so earlier this year.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the country’s Prime Minister, penned a letter to EU Commission chief Ursula Von Der Leyen outlining why the policy would benefit vaccine uptake in the bloc back in January.

He advocated for a “shared” approach to the passports, complimenting freedom of movement.

Since then, several other countries have come forward, as well, including Denmark and Sweden, where leaders have committed to digital documents.

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The following countries have expressed an interest in Covid vaccine passports:

  • Cyprus
  • Denmark
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Spain
  • Sweden

Morten Boedskov, the Danish Finance Minister, said his country’s document would be downloadable.

Hungarian citizens who receive a Covid vaccine also gain special privileges via a plastic card issued to them afterwards.

The card allows them to stay out past national curfews currently in place.

Other organisations, including Microsoft and the World Economic Forum, have started work on passports which could fit into a digital “wallet” showing vaccine progress or test results.

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