Accept vaccinated travellers says IATA

Accepting vaccinated travellers should be global best practice to reopen borders says The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which has applauded the growing number of countries making data and evidence-driven decisions to open their borders to vaccinated travellers.

The latest data collected by IATA shows that more than 20 countries have wholly or partially lifted restrictions for vaccinated travellers. It argues these are the best practice examples that others should quickly follow.

The association supports unrestricted access to travel for vaccinated travellers. In cases where vaccination is not possible, it says access to quarantine-free travel should be provided through COVID-19 testing strategies based on widely available, free-of-charge tests.

IATA states that a safe opening of borders to international travel is the goal,  and scientific evidence and data such as that presented by RKI, ECDC and USC CDC should be the basis for the decision-making needed to achieve that. It believes there is increasing scientific evidence that vaccination is not only protecting people but also dramatically reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

The association also suggests alleviation from COVID-19 restrictions is a powerful motivator for vaccination, particularly in communities where vaccine hesitancy is prevalent. This is an additional and important benefit of restriction-free travel for those vaccinated.

The decisions about increasing the numbers of countries that accept vaccinated travellers without quarantine measures adds pressure for a digital solution to manage vaccine certificates and COVID-19 test results. IATA believes paper-based processes could lead to extremely long processing times at check-in and border control and also open the door to fraud. It suggests digital vaccine/test certificates, coupled with passenger apps such as the IATA Travel Pass, will be needed to manage travel health credentials efficiently and securely in the restart.

IATA polling indicates that 81% of international travellers are willing to get vaccinated in order to be able to travel. 74% agreed that those vaccinated should be able to travel by air without restrictions. 89% supported globally standardised COVID-19 test or vaccination certifications. 84% wanted an app to manage their travel health credentials.