Countries world over are reviewing the idea of vaccine certificates to allow access to travel, hospitality and entertainment to help curb the spread of Covid-19, experts in the UAE have said.
This comes as the UAE announced it is considering the possibility of imposing movement restrictions on residents who have not taken the Covid-19 vaccine despite being eligible to do so.
Several European countries are looking to welcome vaccinated people once again this summer, with many working on how a vaccination certificate might work — like a vaccine passport.
A vaccine pass that will allow freedom of movement in a “safe, responsible and trusted manner” has been proposed by the European Union.
The EU’s coronavirus digital green certificate would allow its 450 million residents to travel freely across the bloc by the summer.
Dr Arindam Banerjee, Associate professor of finance and Deputy dean, Global MBA and MGB programs at SP Jain School of Global Management, Dubai campus, said, “As a responsible UAE citizen, I truly welcome and endorse UAE government’s possible move towards placing restrictions for those who have not been vaccinated. Several developed and developing countries in the world have already initiated similar moves. Greece has been discussing issuance of vaccine passports. In the USA, New York is presumably becoming the first state to offer a COVID-19 vaccination digital pass. Singapore will become one of the first countries to initiate and accept the IATA Mobile Travel Pass for pre-departure passes.”
“With an increasing spread of the virus, vaccination is no more an option but a must-have. UAE, which is considered to be a melting pot of 200+ nationalities can protect the safety and security of its people by mandating vaccination. This will restore the confidence back in people by ensuring safety and will soon bring normalcy in life”, adds Banerjee.
Companies like ‘Vision-Box’ are helping implement biometric technologies at airports around the world, including technology for digital passports that encompass Covid-19 vaccination data, to help facilitate easier access to travel.
Its recent projects include UK Border Force, Emirates Airlines, AirAsia, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Dubai International, Winnipeg International and Kansai International.
Dr Vikas Nand Kumar Batheja, Co-Founder & Director, Capital University College, said, “I am certain residents who have been part of the vaccination programme will be able to enjoy various long-term benefits including a potential quarantine-free travel to low-risk countries, attaining vaccine passports and preventing the overwhelming feeling of getting routine checkups which I am sure can be both emotionally and financially draining.”
Therefore, not just during international travel, nations are now seeking this stamp even for entries to public places.
Israel’s “green pass” scheme is used for entry to venues including gyms, swimming pools, restaurants and cafes, hotels, sports venues, theatres, cinemas and exhibitions.
Vaccinated people can download an app that displays their “green pass” when they are asked to show it. The app can also display proof that someone has recovered from covid-19.
Within the GCC, in Bahrain, only worshippers who have received the Covid-19 vaccine and those who have recovered from coronavirus and in possession of a recovery certificate will be allowed inside mosques.
Bidhan Chowdhury, Founder and Group CEO, MediQ Healthcare Group, said, “Having already vaccinated close to 4 million people in the country, UAE’s vaccination program is amongst the best in the world wherein even home vaccination provision is also available for the elderly. Now with the possible move of restricting movement for the unvaccinated population, the government is encouraging everyone to get a jab.
Getting vaccinated is our vital tool against COVID infections. Similar to a national passport, a vaccine passport would be our ticket to normalcy – it could be in the form of a smartphone app or written certificate for those who don’t have smartphones. The easy and seamless movement of vaccinated individuals whether travelling within the country or outside will ensure a safe environment for everyone because we need to remember unless everyone is vaccinated, we aren’t safe. For instance, New York became the first state in the US to issue a digital vaccine passport, similarly nations across the world will need to have identical measures in place to put life back to normal.
Dr Gursirat Khokhar, Assistant Professor, Forensic Sciences, Amity University Dubai, said, “Vaccinations are the best way to conquer and improve the current pandemic scenario. Studies have shown that the percentage of immunity in a community goes hand in hand with the percentage of vaccinated residents. Hence, it is our moral responsibility to comply with rules and regulations by maintaining social distance, wearing masks and getting vaccinated. These are the most important tools required to stop the pandemic.”