For members of the travel industry the big question is still: Might some countries require a COVID-19 vaccination for entry?
Probably. That is not my opinion, but is that of Jan L. Jones, a professor of hospitality and tourism at the University of New Haven in Connecticut. There are many African countries that already require vaccinations against such diseases as yellow fever prior to entry, which makes me wonder if COVID-19 may be next. Because of this, I too think that some countries may specifically require the vaccine, and others may require quarantine.
It is going to be quite difficult for travelers to keep track of the different requirements for the countries they are interested in visiting. There may even be different rules for different travelers caused by risk factors in different points of origin, and even passenger age.
Airlines might find themselves being first to require proof of vaccination. In November, the chief of Australia’s Qantas air stated that the airline would require passengers to be vaccinated before boarding for departure to and from the country.
Israel recently announced that it will be issuing a “green passport” to citizens who have received the COVID-19 vaccine. This will free the vaccinated from certain restrictions, including clearance for international travel without a COVID-19 test. There has not yet been an announcement about whether travelers from other countries are required to be vaccinated before they arrive in Israel.
In the U.S., Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, recently told Newsweek, “Anything is on the table. Anything is possible, of course.” As distribution of the vaccine ramps up, it is possible that we will see some states in the U.S. requiring visitors to be vaccinated. The decisions regarding this type of requirements will be left to the individual states.
We all have our own opinions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, and whether or not we believe that a vaccine requirement is an infringement of our rights to visit a country. Right now, it is still too soon for a definitive solution. I believe that by this time next year we will have a much better idea.