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Airlines Want U.S. Government to Lead Digital Health Passport Initiative

In the rush to develop a digital health passport to open up international travel, airlines and other travel-related businesses are asking for the U.S. government to take the lead, instead of trusting it to private organizations. The letter, signed by 25 stakeholders, travel consortiums and labor unions, ask the Biden administration to develop a standard for all airlines to use.

As the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Commons Project Foundation rush towards launching a digital health passport, a group of U.S.-based travel stakeholders are asking the federal government to take the lead on a single standard for all airlines. Reuters reports the signatories are asking the Biden administration to be the leader in developing a digital health passport, with the hopes of reopening international travel sooner rather than later.

“COVID-19 vaccines should not be a requirement for domestic or international travel.”

The letter was sent to Jeff Zients, the COVID-19 recovery coordinator inside the White House, and signed by 25 different groups. Signing the letter were leaders of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Travel Association, airline trade unions, and trade organizations. The groups are asking for “uniform guidance” on what a digital health passport should contain and how it should be presented.

“[The Biden Administration should] proactively develop a roadmap for the rollout of recommended travel documentations,” the letter reads, according to Reuters. “And build a system supporting CHCs that verify both testing and vaccination records.”

The continued COVID-19 pandemic forced nations to close borders, and ultimately killed the demand for international air travel. The group is asking for a single standard which would collect a traveler’s testing history and vaccination data, which could be presented at borders to allow a safe reopening.

However, the group also notes that a flyer’s choice to accept or refuse the vaccine should not be a reason to refuse entry into a nation. In their letter, the group made a clear statement to the White House: “COVID-19 vaccines should not be a requirement for domestic or international travel.”

Officials inside the Biden Administration have not commented on the letter, or if they will direct the Centers for Disease Control to join the groups working to create a health passport.

With Multiple Groups Involved, Single Standard is Yet to be Determined

The organization’s plea to the White House comes as conflicting standards start to get a practical application. Although Lufthansa, JetBlue and United Airlines have not yet started trials of their digital health passport, Middle East carriers Emirates and Etihad have signed on to be the launch customers of the IATA Travel Pass digital health passport.

White Eagle March 13, 2021

Edgewood49, Right On!! The old vaccination booklet can now be updated. Vaccination should be as simple as arriving in clothes & shoes at any destination. End of discussion!

not2017 March 12, 2021

@NonnaGoes, I agree with you. I am just tired of all these anti-vaxers. They are the same simpletons who follow "Q"! Any country that wants to bar the non-vaccinated from entering their country, that is their right to determine who can enter their country! If airlines want to bar the non-vaccinated, great! I'm all for it! With the exception of children, all adults need to be vaccinated. Because, in all likelihood, we will have a new Covid vaccine every year.

Prof_Dr_G March 12, 2021

I don't know what the outcome will be, but if the CDC and the WHO are involved, anything (good or bad) can happen.

viajero1 March 12, 2021

The vaccines have no more than emergency status in the US. They have NOT been authorised by the FDA. The pharmaceuticals have been given immunity from prosecution. There are worldwide many reported cases of severe adverse effects and even death. How can airlines or governments compel people to accept vaccines that have not been given government authorisation?

DeltaFlyer123 March 11, 2021

When I was a schoolboy, the polio epidemic was just becoming under control, and every year we had to have a vaccination certificate to be allowed to enroll in school. I recently found two of my certificates, from 1959 and 1960 in my mother’s box of old papers. If you’d like a good chuckle, click the link below. Just goes to show, “what goes around, comes around”.