The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has been heavily restricting commercial air travel for almost a year now. This has led to financial struggles for many industries, but particularly tourism. This sector is often reliant on overseas visitors, but opportunities for travel abroad have been minimal in recent months. Now, countries such as Denmark and Sweden are looking to implement digital vaccine passports to allow their citizens to travel abroad once again.
Announcements earlier this week
According to The Guardian, Denmark announced its intention to commence the development of digital vaccine passports for its citizens on Wednesday this week. Sweden, its Scandinavian neighbor, followed suit with a similar announcement yesterday.
These electronic certificates would allow their residents to visit countries that require overseas visitors to produce evidence of vaccination against coronavirus. It may also be the case that certain airlines implement a similar policy in the future. For example, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has previously been particularly vocal on the matter.
Proposed additional use elsewhere
Denmark and Sweden’s plans to implement vaccine passports may also have a bearing in areas beyond commercial aviation. Indeed, the Scandinavian countries have hinted that the digital certificates could also be used to enter sporting or cultural events.
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This could be crucial in allowing such events to return to full capacity if attendees can all prove that they have been vaccinated against coronavirus. Because of this, organizers may hope that they no longer need to limit capacity to a certain percentage based that accounts for social distancing between spectators in sports or entertainment venues.
To use a sporting example, UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) does not want to delay its once-postponed 2020 European Championship beyond this summer. As such, the vaccine passports may be particularly welcome news for Danish and Swedish football fans!
However, the use of vaccine passports beyond the realms of commercial aviation is subject to further research. Specifically, the Danish government is keen to investigate “whether vaccinated people could still transmit the virus.”
Both countries share a common goal in wishing to issue digital vaccine passports. However, it appears that the rollout in each of these Nordic nations will differ. Denmark has more immediate action in mind, with initial plans to publish an online vaccination registry by the end of the month. It will then work on a longer-term technical solution. Acting finance minister Morten Bødskov hopes this will “contribute to a gradual, sound and appropriate reopening.”
Meanwhile, the Swedish government is hoping to have sufficient infrastructure to digitally issue vaccine passports by June. Anders Ygeman, its minister for digital development, hopes that “with a digital vaccine certificate, it will be quick and easy to prove a completed vaccination.”
What do you make of Denmark and Sweden’s plans to implement digital vaccine passports? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.