Some countries are requiring a negative COVID-19 test before international travelers can enter, but with vaccines becoming available to the general public at some point this year, that might become the new requirement for international, or even domestic, travel.
We’ve seen over the last year that some countries require travelers to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within three days of their flight.
Such a requirement makes sense for any government that is trying to keep its citizens safe from new infections, especially if they’ve been able to keep their numbers low.
As a natural evolution of this, now that there are two vaccines approved by the FDA, we might see countries, or even airlines themselves, require travelers to show proof they have been vaccinated before international or even domestic flights. CNBC reports that while it might not become a requirement right away, as the number of vaccinations grow, it’s not outside the realm of possibility.
Citing a November interview Qantas CEO Alan Joyce did with Australia’s Nine News, the article reports the airline executive said vaccinations are a necessity for international travelers.
“Talking to my colleagues in other airlines around the globe, I think it’s going to be a common theme across the board,” he said.
Similarly, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said on 3 December on “Today” said the vaccinations for international travel will become a requirement.
These two airline execs are talking about international travel, sure, but I think it’s a possibility, perhaps a small one, that domestic flights could require proof of vaccination, especially if a traveler is flying from one state with higher COVID-19 numbers to another with fewer infections. These restrictions could come from the airlines themselves, but I think state governments would more likely be the source of these.
It would be an interesting situation to watch unfold. Travelers who have been vaccinated would certainly feel much safer getting on a plane for a leisure or work trip, but the rollout of the vaccine for the general public is going to take a while. The requirement could also cut down on the number of people flying as they are waiting for their turn to be vaccinated. Similarly, who knows how such a requirement would play out for people who cannot or choose not to be vaccinated?
The two vaccines will certainly be what puts this pandemic behind us, but there’s still plenty of time and any number of complications between now and then.
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