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What You Need To Know About Vaccine Passports

We have talked a lot about COVID-19 related matters, from identity theft to COVID-19 vaccines, here on the RKN Global blog. In this article, let’s look at vaccine passports.

What are Vaccine Passports?

A vaccine passport is a digital record you get after vaccination and the app you use to access the vaccination record. Countries across the world have developed, or are in the process of developing, different vaccine passports. These allow citizens to access higher-risk activities like attending concerts or traveling.

Different states and the public sector in the US have developed systems to help them verify the vaccination status of people. New York State was the first to release a state-backed vaccine passport.

New York’s Excelsior Pass allows vaccinated New Yorkers to download their health records onto a smartphone app. There, they receive a QR code that businesses and venues can scan to verify their vaccination status. Despite efforts from states and the public sector, the federal government has expressed that it will not mandate vaccine passports.

The Benefits

The pandemic came with numerous restrictions and cancellation of events that would increase the spread of the disease. Among these restrictions were bans on travel and on social events such as sports and entertainment.

With vaccines promising immunity against the coronavirus, governments can slowly reopen borders, allow social events, and restore their economies. The benefit of lifting certain restrictions also incentivizes citizens to get vaccinated against the virus.

The Cons and Concerns

Vaccine passports are seen as a direct route to reopening economies.  But critics have pointed out the risk of further marginalization of marginalized groups.

Although countries like Israel have recorded high vaccination rates of more than 70-80% of the eligible population, places like the US are still seeing disparities in vaccination statistics.

The African-American and the Hispanic-American communities have recorded low vaccination rates, as have low-income individuals. A recent report shows that 72% of the US adult population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

In addition to concerns of unequal vaccine distribution and marginalization of certain groups, vaccine passports need careful design to ensure privacy and data protection.

Countries Using Vaccine Passports

Countries around the world have developed different COVID-19 vaccination certificates to allow their citizens to access certain activities or travel. Here are some of the countries that have rolled out their vaccine passports:

  • Israel launched the Green pass that allows vaccinated citizens to access leisure venues such as gyms and restaurants.
  • The EU launched the EU Digital COVID Certificate for citizens within the EU’s 27 member states, and Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein. Estonia and Lithuania are among the first countries to adopt the EU Digital COVID Certificate within the region.
  • Denmark launched its digital certificate through its Coronapass system.
  • Bahrain offers its vaccinated citizens a digital certificate through the Be Aware app.
  • China uses a digital certificate through WeChat.
  • Cyprus issues the digital green passport.
  • Singapore started using the IATA Travel Pass in May 2021.
  • The UK adopted the NHS COVID Pass App to allow fully vaccinated citizens to avoid quarantine when returning to the UK. It also allows them to verify their vaccination status when entering larger venues where large crowds typically gather.

Wrapping Up

Many countries are looking at vaccine passports as the path towards reopening their economies and verifying that their citizens are vaccinated. The use of vaccine certificates in different countries may also influence the travel requirements for anyone wishing to leave or enter the country. Therefore, if you are traveling, it is important to check the vaccination requirements of your destination country.






Why You Need to Link Your Passport to Your COVID-19 Vaccine Certificate

As countries across the globe ramp up vaccination, governments and international organizations are increasingly embracing COVID-19 vaccination certificates. Such certificates already play a critical role in lifting travel restrictions while maintaining the safety of international travel.

Whenever you travel abroad, you will have to show proof of vaccination or test results. Vaccine certificates have become a popular way of ascertaining that you received your COVID-19 vaccination.

Countries like India have developed a system for linking vaccine certificates with passports to make it easier to travel. Such systems aim to help travelers prove their vaccination status with ease.  These certificates include travelers’ name, passport number, and the vaccine which they received.

Reasons why you should link your vaccine certificate to your passport

Here are some of the top reasons you should link your vaccine certificate to your passport:

        Airports will scan you for COVID-19 before you leave. When you are vaccinated, authorities may exempt you from some COVID-19 mandates.  These include quarantine at your destination or a COVID-19 test before you travel.

        Linking your vaccine certificate to your passport provides reliable proof of your vaccination. Since they are directly linked to your passport, digitally-linked certificates are more reliable than easily falsifiable physical certificates. Even with a vaccine passport linked to your passport but presented in physical format, authorities can authenticate it by scanning a QR code.  

        Linking your passport and vaccination certificate makes for a smooth travel experience as far as regulatory concerns. When you can provide reliable proof of your vaccination, foreign countries are less likely to interrupt your travel due to regulatory hiccups.

How to link your vaccine certificate

There are different ways of doing this, depending on where you live.  If you are in India, for example, the CoWIN Portal makes it easy to link your COVID-19 vaccine certificate with your passport details. This can make it easier for you to travel to the UAE, the UK, Australia, the US, Europe, and other foreign countries.


COVID-19 passports have become a valid method of verifying vaccination status against the coronavirus. Countries like India have taken vaccination an additional step further by allowing their citizens to link their passport and their vaccine certificates through portals like CoWIN.