The state of summer vacation
With Covid vaccinations underway, many people are wondering about travel.
Though this summer likely won’t see travel at prepandemic levels, and many places remain closed, “bookings for almost everything are up,” Tariro Mzezewa, a Times reporter who covers travel, told me.
“Travel will go beyond the road trips of last summer,” she says. “Vaccinated people will be more comfortable being around other people.”
So what will change?
Expect to show some sort of proof — either of a negative test or of vaccination — when traveling. “You should be planning on showing your negative test or staying home if you don’t have one,” Tariro says.
The concept of a vaccine passport isn’t new: To travel to certain countries, for example, you already need inoculations against yellow fever and other diseases.
The travel industry and tech companies have been working on ways to streamline digital credentials for years, and during the pandemic some have started to repurpose that technology to show proof of vaccination. “It isn’t far off in the future,” Tariro says.
“Some think a coordinated, nationwide vaccine passport system could help us get back to a semblance of normal life and speed up economic recovery,” Rebecca Heilweil wrote in Recode. “But this seems unlikely.”
In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that vaccine passports would “definitely” play a role in the future for international travel. China has already introduced its own digital certificate, which shows a person’s vaccine and testing history, and South Korea recently announced it would issue vaccine passports to immunized citizens using a mobile app.
A real-world example
In Israel, a possible vision of the postpandemic future is on display. More than half of Israelis have received both vaccine shots, and cases have dropped by 90 percent. The economy has reopened with help from a “Green Pass,” an entry ticket to society.
The pass isn’t being widely used for international travel — Israel is still closed to foreign visitors out of fear of variants — but it offers access to restaurants, concerts and more. Newspapers and commercials in Israel are already advertising summer getaways for the fully vaccinated in countries that have agreed to take them, including Greece, Cyprus and Georgia, according to Isabel Kershner, a Times correspondent in Jerusalem.
If you’re looking for more answers about vaccine passports, read Tariro’s article. And here’s what you need to know about the simple white cards you get after receiving a vaccine.