Finnish flag carrier Finnair has revealed that it is to start accepting a COVID-19 vaccine certificate to allow passengers to fly. Currently, many airlines require vaccinated individuals to produce a negative COVID-19 test certificate. By taking action, Finnair becomes one of the first airlines to do so.
Vaccines have been put forwards as one of the aviation industry’s miracle cures. With a vaccinated population, it is hoped that the risk of COVID-19 will decrease, allowing countries to reopen their borders. But to do this, vaccine certificates need to start being accepted for travel. Let’s find out more.
Finnair to accept vaccination certificates
Finnair is set to begin accepting vaccination certificates as proof of COVID-19 status. Of course, the rules of acceptable certificates are typically set by the destination country. For example, Finnair could not accept vaccination certificates for flights bound for the United Kingdom as a test certificate is mandated.
As such, the airline has been working with the Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare. From May 11th, vaccinated individuals flying to Finland will be able to travel with a vaccine certificate. Only the first jab will be required to fly with the airline. Unlike many countries, Finland is also accepting proof that somebody has previously recovered from COVID-19 and has antibodies to the virus.
According to the airline, the first vaccine dose must have been administered at least 21 days before the date of travel to be eligible. The certificate needs to show the passenger’s name, date of birth, vaccine producer, time and place of vaccination, and who issued the certificate. As such, the NHS certificate from England wouldn’t be accepted, as it doesn’t show a date of birth or place of vaccination.
Commenting on the news, Kimmo Ketola, who is the Medical Director at Finnair, said,
“Vaccines have proven their power in fighting the pandemic, and vaccination certificates will play a key role in the upcoming EU Digital Green Certificate to ensure the health and safety of travellers. The likelihood of a vaccinated person being infected and transmitting COVID-19 is very small.”
Will other airlines and countries follow suit?
It’s almost certain that other countries, and thus airlines, will eventually follow suit. It’s more when than if. However, many questions will need to be answered before it becomes widespread. Taking the example above of NHS certificates not meeting Finland’s requirements, countries will need to coordinate acceptance of each other’s proof of vaccination.
The European Union is working to create a standard certificate accepted across the union. Known as the “digital green certificate”, it will be accepted in all member states. It will show if the holder has recently received a negative test, has been vaccinated against COVID-19 or has recovered from the virus.
The certificate aims to ensure current travel restrictions within the block can be lifted, allowing free movement to resume. The EU hopes to launch the scheme this summer. As Finland is in the EU, it would need to accept the certificate for travelers or justify its decision not to to the European Commission.
Do you think more countries and airlines should accept vaccine certificates for travel? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!