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Vaccine passports to be discussed
Published on: 2021-03-03
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As China has basically contained the virus and the speedy rolling out of vaccination in countries around the world is anticipated to help them control the epidemic, several Chinese lawmakers and political advisors said they will propose the issuance of digital vaccine travel certificates or "vaccine passports" in this year's two sessions to help people get life back to normal.

"China could encourage the public to voluntarily get vaccinated and gradually issue a new passport for those who have been vaccinated," Zhu Zhengfu, a prominent Chinese lawyer and a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference said.

Business and travel visas could be issued to people with vaccine passports if they want to go to countries and regions where the COVID-19 epidemic has been effectively curbed, Zhu said.

He also suggested that international arrivals could be exempted from the requirement of 14-day quarantine if they have a negative nucleic acid test report and the vaccine passport, while people in China can travel freely within the country free from nucleic acid testing if they have the vaccine passports.

Zhu also suggested the country promote the mutual recognition of the vaccine passports in the world, to boost international tourism and economic exchanges.

European Union leaders discussed the vaccine passport issue via a virtual meeting on Thursday and Friday to decide whether EU-wide travel would be allowed this summer. But they have not come up with a unified plan, as the leaders of the 27 countries were divided.

Other Chinese health experts also shared their concerns over the EU's plan of vaccine passports, saying it would not be feasible scientifically at a time when emerging new variants of coronavirus raise doubts on the efficacy of vaccines.

Pan Helin, executive director of the digital economy research institute under the Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, said that a vaccine passport is not feasible scientifically because it is hard for countries to reach common ground over the efficacy of different vaccines in a short time.

Instead, the expert suggested adopting a vaccine passport domestically to encourage people to take the initiative to receive vaccines.

Pan said there are also possibilities of illegal trade of vaccine passport in the market due to the lack of supervision.

From the economic point of view, the issuance of a vaccine passport will speed up population flow and benefit vaccine production and tourism, Pan said, adding that all these assumptions are based on the precondition that vaccine supply is sufficient.

International scientists have not figured out the real efficacy of vaccines amid virus variants, and it takes five to 10 years to find out the real efficacy, and how long vaccine protection can last also remains unknown, a Beijing-based immunologist who requested anonymity said.

多国认真考虑实行“疫苗护照”

在全球新冠疫情持续、各国相继为民众接种疫苗的背景下,采用“疫苗护照”实现安全的跨境人员流动,正成为多国竞相考虑的问题,特别是新加坡、泰国以及欧洲等经济依仗旅游业的国家,希望借助“疫苗护照”快速拉动旅游业复苏。

在中国即将召开的两会前,多位代表委员提到“疫苗护照”。全国政协委员朱征夫表示,他将提议用“新冠检测+疫苗护照”来取代入境旅客的14天强制隔离期,以及在国内推行接种疫苗的电子证明书(即国内的“疫苗护照”),凭接种疫苗的电子证明书在国内旅行可免核酸检测。朱征夫还建议,国际上开展双边或多边谈判,推动各国“疫苗护照”的互认和快速准确识别,推动国际旅游和国际经贸活动逐步恢复。

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