Experts say Vaccine Passports could provide ease for international travelers, if done correctly

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Representative Nancy Mace added her name on Monday to the growing list of lawmakers opposing vaccine passports. Those opposed said the passports would be an infringement on personal rights, but travel experts said they could be instrumental in revamping the travel industry.

Allison Tolbert, a Luxury Travel Advisor for Departure Lounge, said that vaccine passports have essentially been around for some time but are known to travelers as a “Yellow Card” or to the WHO as the International Certificate of Vaccination. 

Tolbert said that she could see the COVID-19 vaccination ultimately being one of the vaccines that are placed onto the yellow card as a recommended vaccine. However, she doesn’t see the COVID-19 vaccines being mandated for the card just yet.

She said, “right now, because the vaccine is so new and there are so many different brands of the vaccine, I think it’s impractical to have it required, but I think it is something that you can add to your medical passport or to your yellow card.”

But is it legal for a vaccine passport to mandated domestically? Charlie Condon, a Private Practice Attorney and former South Carolina Attorney General, said that it is, and it has been for some time. Condon said, “generally speaking–I do believe that if a federal government wanted to pass such a law, under their broad powers, commerce clause, in particular, they could.”

Currently, the Biden Administration has not indicated they will implement a vaccine passport, but Condon said the order could also come from local governments. That order would be legal under the general police powers, where the state government could mandate it for state entry. However, Governor McMaster has been outspoken against such measures and the passport as a whole.

While proof of vaccination is not currently required, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that vaccinated people can safely travel, though unessential travel is not recommended. But Tolbert hopes that as more people get vaccinated, travel will continue to increase.

Tolbert said that she and other agents have been advising all clients that travel is possible whether or not they have the vaccine. The vaccine is opening doors for those who wish to have more ease in future travels. 

As of right now, there are no mandates for vaccines ahead of domestic travel, nor is there an internationally recognized form for the COVID-19 vaccine specifically. If and when that does change, we’ll be sure to update you both on air and online.

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