Houston, TX

Want To Travel Abroad? You'll Probably Need The Covid Vaccine

Matt Lillywhite

Many countries are requiring proof of vaccination as a condition of entry. So, you may need to show your vaccine passport at a Texan airport before boarding the flight.

Photo via Unsplash

According to legislation signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott last month, businesses that compel consumers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 would be refused state contracts and may lose their licenses or operating permits. However, despite the intentions of the Texan governor, vaccine passports for international travel may be inevitable.

Texans Might Need To Show Proof Of Vaccination At The Airport.

According to publicly available data, George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston receives over 40 million passengers every year. Meanwhile, in Dallas, DFW sees over 60 million passengers in the airport each year. So with many people entering and leaving the country via Texas, many experts suggest that vaccine passports for travel could provide a way of returning to normal. At least, they might be necessary until the pandemic is over.

Many countries around the world are mandating Covid-19 vaccination as a condition of entry. And since airlines have to check that customers are eligible for admission before boarding, Texans may be turned away from the airport if they cannot provide proof of vaccination. Or, at the very least, a negative test to show that a passenger is not carrying (and spreading) the Covid-19 virus around whatever destination they're visiting. Quoting an article published by CN Traveler:

"For many countries, a negative test will suffice, but as the Delta and so-called Delta-plus variants spread around Europe, it's looking increasingly likely that only those who are fully vaccinated will be able to travel without quarantining."

Take the European Union as an example. At the time of writing, Americans are eligible to enter if they can show proof of vaccination. If not, they won't be allowed to board the flight or enter the specific country they're traveling to. Instead, they'll be turned away at check-in since they'd be inadmissible for entry into the EU.

Here's a map of countries that Americans can visit right now:

It's worth mentioning that some countries don't require a negative test for entry. For example, Colombia does not (at the time of writing) require vaccination or a negative test when flying directly from the United States. Nor does Mexico or Costa Rica. But obviously, all incoming passengers are expected to comply with local health guidelines such as social distancing and/or mask-wearing.

Here's What The World Health Organization (WHO) Says About Vaccine Passports.

According to the WHO website, "national authorities and conveyance operators should not introduce requirements of proof of COVID-19 vaccination for international travel as a condition for departure or entry, given that there are still critical unknowns regarding the efficacy of vaccination in reducing transmission."

Put simply, vaccination doesn't necessarily make you immune from catching or spreading Covid-19. After all, there have been several reports of fully vaccinated people becoming infected with the Delta strain. Quoting WebMD:

"Fully vaccinated people continue to be well protected against severe disease and death, even with Delta, but so-called breakthrough cases, where a person gets infected despite being fully vaccinated, are on the rise. Because of that, many experts continue to advise caution, even if fully vaccinated."

In essence, this means that someone could be fully vaccinated while simultaneously being infected with the Delta strain of Covid-19. And since they'd be able to show evidence of vaccination, that person would be allowed to board an international flight (providing they aren't symptomatic). Therefore, many people suggest that rapid testing should be done at airports before boarding to determine if someone is negative for Covid-19. At least, that option would be much better than covering an entire society into mandatory vaccination.

What do you think about vaccine passports for international travel in Texas? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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