For countries relying massively on tourism as an economic contributor and large source of employment, vaccine passports appear to be the potential fast track to opening borders and returning to normality as seen pre covid-19 days. But according to China Daily, Thailand, as one of the leading tourist destinations in the world, is not convinced about the vaccine passport yet. The health authorities of Thailand states that the best international agreement on traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic is still a 14-day quarantine.
Several countries and organizations are trying to determine the requirements and concept of a so-called vaccination passport but the Nordic Region is leading the way with Iceland becoming the first country in Europe to provide COVID-19 vaccination certificates to its citizens who have received two doses of the vaccine. The country will also recognize similar vaccination certificates that are issued from any EU or Schengen member country. Last week Denmark and Sweden announced that both countries plan on implementing digital vaccination passports for their citizens, not only for travel purpose but also to be used in public spaces. President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen supports creating a common EU established vaccination certificate that can be issued by member states to their citizens and the United Nations World Tourism Organization has called for the implementation of an international standardized digital certification system for COVID-19 vaccinations.
But despite strong European interest, Thailand’s health authorities are not on board yet with the vaccine passport idea. Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of the disease control department said that the covid-19 vaccines are allowed to be used on humans now as they are believed to be effective to some extent in preventing COVID-19 infections, though research into COVID-19 vaccines has not been completed yet. He added that the best international agreement on traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic is still a 14-day quarantine.
Thailand’s Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry, and Banking however has urged the Thai government to consider issuing vaccine passports to Thais who are vaccinated against COVID-19 to allow citizens to travel abroad. Supan Mongkolsuthree, JSCCIB member and chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, said that for the sake of tourism promotion, foreigners with similar vaccination certificates should also be allowed to bypass strict COVID-19 control measures when entering Thailand.