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8 Jan, 2021 14:56

Denmark to roll out coronavirus ‘vaccine passport’ for travelers in early 2021

Denmark to roll out coronavirus ‘vaccine passport’ for travelers in early 2021

Denmark is planning to introduce a digital ‘vaccine passport’ soon to enable citizens with jabs against Covid-19 to travel to countries where such documents may be obligatory for entry during the pandemic.

The ‘vaccine passport’ will be rolled out “in early 2021,” the Danish Health Ministry told local broadcaster DR. Those vaccinated would be able to obtain the document through the country’s public health website. 

“It is our expectation that there could be a requirement from other countries to produce (coronavirus) vaccine documentation at entry. This is where a Danish vaccine passport can be used,” the ministry explained in an emailed response.

The ‘passport’ will be regularly updated as soon as new data on the transmission of the virus, as well as the effectiveness and length of the protection provided by the vaccines, becomes available.

Denmark, where over 177,000 Covid-19 cases and 1,487 deaths have so far been registered, is ahead of most European nations when it comes to the pace of its vaccination program. The country started giving out Pfizer/BioNTech shots in late December, and around one percent of the population has already been vaccinated with at least the first of the two shots.

The idea of the ‘vaccine passport’ was praised by the Transport Department of the Confederation of Danish Industry, with its head, Michael Svane, saying that the document will become a “way for us to put restrictions behind us and travel by air much more.”

Svane also expressed hope that an international solution will be worked out to allow for such ‘vaccine passports’ to be used everywhere around the globe. 

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Several international bodies and companies have been working to develop digital ‘vaccine passports’ or smartphone apps that would see people uploading their data to assure safe travel or entry to concert venues, stadiums, movie theaters and other public places. 

Swiss company, the Commons Project, has teamed up with the World Economic Forum and several major airlines to create the CommonPass app, which transforms Covid-19 test results and information on vaccination into a QR code that can be scanned at airports. 

The international association for airlines, IATA, is also working on a similar digital document, called the IATA Travel Pass Initiative.

Air carriers also welcome the introduction of ‘vaccination passports’. United, Lufthansa, Swiss International Airlines and Virgin Atlantic all tested the CommonPass technology in late 2020.

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Australia’s Qantas Airways earlier announced that proof of Covid-19 vaccination would become mandatory for all international passengers on its flights. Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce, speculated that it’s “going to be a common… in other airlines around the globe.”

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