coronavirus pandemic

How a ‘Vaccine Passport' Could Open Up International Travel

NBC 7 Responds looks at where some experts think the future of pandemic travel is headed.

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Travel during the coronavirus pandemic has largely been halted. There are many types of travel restrictions, from mandatory quarantine periods, to required testing. Some countries might soon require proof of your vaccination to enter.

"A year ago you could hop on a plane and go to Paris, no problem," said Scott Keyes of Scott's Cheap Flights. "There wasn't much you had to do in advance other than remember to bring your passport. Now, you can't go to Paris at all as a tourist."

Keyes said some countries are looking at a "vaccine passport" which would tell them you have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

"It's essentially proof that you've been vaccinated," Keyes said. "Many countries are saying they will require that as an interim step to getting back to where we were before the pandemic began."

When you get your vaccine you are given a small card that proves you got the vaccine. Keyes says that might be enough in some countries, but others will want a more secure form of proof.

There are a few companies working on tech-based solutions to the vaccine passport. That's because already, people are selling fake vaccine cards. One Swiss company working to develop the passport is Common Pass.

"It generates a QR code for the border official that they can scan which says, 'Scott has been vaccinated and he's cleared to enter,'" Keyes said. "It's unlikely there's going to be any sort of an official U.S. Government one or airline one. I think there are going to be different ones and you'll probably have a choice on which one you use."

While travel to some parts of the Americas does not require testing, Keyes says travel overseas will need technology like this to feel safe welcoming in tourists.

"Most of Europe, most of Asia, elsewhere, this vaccine passport is likely the stepping stone to reopening international tourism," Keyes said. "I imagine most countries around the world will adopt some sort of vaccine passport requirement at least for the foreseeable future until we as an entire globe are able to tamp down the pandemic."

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