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Vaccine certificate could help restart travel, says ABTA boss

Covid-19 vaccine to travel

ABTA has said that the sector needs the option of using vaccine certificates to help restart travel.

A programme in which a voluntary certificate is used to demonstrate that a traveller has been vaccinated could be a “real incentive to get people travelling again”, chief executive Mark Tanzer wrote in a blog post.

“Having the option to obtain some sort of vaccine certificate will be important because this evidence, alongside testing, is likely to be part of the way to re-open travel,” Tanzer said.

“We would like to see the government work with the industry on how can we have a voluntary certificate that will be able to demonstrate that you’ve been vaccinated, meaning you don’t have to test or quarantine.

“That would be a real incentive to get people travelling again. We already know that some overseas governments such as Greece and Cyprus are looking at proof of vaccination as a way for travellers to avoid testing and quarantine requirements.”

Earlier in February, vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi told the BBC that vaccine passports would be “discriminatory”, although just days later the transport secretary Grant Shapps did state on BBC Radio Four Today that a vaccination certificate could be the way forward.

Tanzer added that having a vaccine certificate “isn’t a new idea”, as there are examples that already exist for viral diseases, “such as yellow fever, where there is an internationally recognised standard of certification that you have been vaccinated”.

He continued: “I understand concerns around discrimination and data privacy, which is why any vaccine certificate should be optional. The government has asked people to participate in the vaccination scheme and in the test and trace programme; people who have done so have the right to their personal data.

“While I strongly believe that being vaccinated – and having evidence of it that is recognised internationally – must be part of the solution to reopening travel, it cannot be the only route.

“There need to be other ways, such as a practical and cost-effective testing regime, to allow those who are yet to be vaccinated to travel.”

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