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June 23, 2021
Digital health certificates – also called COVID vaccine passports – might be available for travelers this year, especially those travelers leaving the country. While U.S. retailers and resorts have been resistant to them, the situation may change this summer as Americans travel internationally and head to foreign airports to come home.
Currently, before you fly into the U.S. from another country, you have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result. That applies even if you are a U.S. citizen. So far, the responsibility for checking the test results has fallen to the air carriers, and with air travel increasing, some of them are calling for a quicker, digital way to transmit test results and vaccination proof. Major U.S. airlines are encouraging travelers to store scans of vaccination documents on smartphones or upload them as they buy tickets.
At present, it appears digital health credentials are more likely to emerge from the private sector or from state governments rather than from the federal government. Privately developed digital health apps for smartphones may become a new innovation in the American travel industry within the next year.3