The restrictions on face masks and travel for those vaccinated against COVID-19 in the US are slowly being lifted, but the concept of carrying a paper vaccination card to show evidence not only seems tedious but unsustainable to be.
For large airlines, high-traffic places and spaces, it seems easier and more convenient to test the vaccination through a digital portal, map or app.
This week American Airlines announced it would do just that for travelers leaving the country for the Bahamas, El Salvador and Guatemala.
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The VeriFLY app allows passengers to securely upload their vaccination documents before flying to the airport and streamline the process of traveling abroad.
“As the countries reopen to vaccinated people, we stand by VeriFLY to help our customers travel with confidence,” said Julie Rath, vice president of customer experience, American Airlines.
Customers flying to the three approved international destinations can upload a photo of their vaccination cards directly to the app for review. You will then receive a “pass” or “fail” message.
Travelers who “pass” the vaccination requirements will have to re-enter their information within a set time and the app will prompt them to do so if necessary.
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American Airlines itself does not require vaccinations for customers traveling domestically or internationally. Due to restrictions at various destinations, customers traveling on the airline may need to be vaccinated.
The partnership with VeriFLY could show what the future of air travel will look like in a post-pandemic world, and the burden of proof of vaccination could become a regular part of the registration process for international travelers.
This foray into the digital health space could put American Airlines ahead of other airlines in adapting to the new travel landscape as borders open and busy airports and destinations return to normal operations.
Still, the CDC urges travelers who are not vaccinated not to travel internationally at all and warns those of potential risks that are still being kept in check: “Fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to contract COVID-19 and it spread, “the CDC said in a statement. “However, international travel carries additional risks and even fully vaccinated travelers may have an increased risk of contracting and potentially spreading some variants of COVID-19.”
The CDC also suggests that all international travelers undergo a COVID-19 test three to five days after their return to the states.
Currently, the United States ranks number one in the world in terms of vaccination rates among countries of more than 100 million people.