COVID passports are real and they could be in the U.S. soon

Let’s think about the future for a moment.

The coronavirus pandemic is coming to an end — you finally receive the vaccination. Workers start heading back to the office on some sort of hybrid work model, enabling employees flexibility unlike ever before, where they can work between their home and the office at their own convenience.

Friday night doesn’t have to be an overpriced Seamless takeout order; people start going back into restaurants and enjoy the actual dining experience, not the one that includes sitting next to mounds of snow or sweating under the humid night. Networking becomes networking again, where job seekers can enjoy a cup of coffee with someone instead of hopping on a Zoom call and networking virtually.

Then, there’s vacation time. All that time that hasn’t been spent sitting at home for another staycation is just waiting to get used. Travel bans have been lifted; the world is ready to be explored again. Fortunately, your passport hasn’t expired yet — you have a few more years until you have to renew. Airplane tickets are booked. Lodging was settled weeks ago. Itinerary is set.

Just don’t forget your coronavirus passport.

Denmark announced it will be administering COVID-19 passports for people who have received the COVID-19 vaccine later this month, according to the Financial Times. Denmark’s acting finance minister, Morten Bodskov, said the passports will be issued near the end of February in an effort to jumpstart Denmark’s economy.

“It is absolutely crucial for us to restart Danish society so that companies can get back on track,” Bodskov said, according to the report.

Denmark’s government said it will also offer a digital passport, but it won’t be available for a few months. These passports will enable the country to allow people to travel outside the country, while allowing events like concerts and sporting events to take place with fans in attendance.

Sweden announced a similar move Thursday when the Nordic country said it will begin to develop “digital vaccine certificates,” which will allow citizens to travel abroad.

The New York Times reported that airlines have developed a digital travel pass to allow passengers to travel and show they’ve either been vaccinated or tested for the coronavirus. However, there are hurdles to climb, such as creating a universal document or app that can be used around the world.

It isn’t just governments that are suggesting vaccine passports. In a few weeks, Etihad Airways and Emirates will start using a digital travel pass, developed by the International Air Transport Association, to help passengers manage their travel plans and provide airlines and governments documentation that they have been vaccinated or tested for Covid-19.

The challenge right now is creating a document or app that is accepted around the world, that protects privacy and is accessible to people regardless of their wealth or access to smartphones.

The idea of having a vaccine passport also comes with some hurdles, such as limiting people who haven’t received a vaccine to partake in events.

Sacha Lord, a co-founder of Parklife music festival in Manchester, England, told Reuters that there should be options for people should they not be interested in a vaccine passport, such as rapid test results.

“A gig isn’t a gig or a festival isn’t a festival unless you are stood shoulder to shoulder with your friends,” he said. “I don’t think we should be forcing people into the vaccine passports. It should be a choice. But on entry, if you don’t have that passport, then we will give you another option.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently said that travelers boarding international flights to the US will be required to provide proof of a negative test, which includes US citizens returning from abroad. International travelers will have to best tested again three to five days after their arrival and remain quarantined for seven days after their travel date.