“In the absence of digital vaccination apps and because insecure paper documents are easy to fake, many travellers are likely to be using counterfeit vaccination passports; the consequences will be long delays at airports,” says Adam Schrader, Director of Operations at leading travel risk intelligence company Riskline. Governments and travel authorities are now hastily rushing to introduce vaccination passports to meet the demand to open up travel and holidays.
“While digital vaccine passports are in development and testing, the absence of any universal standards means that many people around the world have already been issued with paper documentation for their vaccinations. The unvaccinated who still want to travel will turn to counterfeit documents and fake vaccination passports which are already available on the dark web. Some violators may not be caught.”
Given that most vaccination certificates are actually small cards with batch numbers handwritten on, it is likely that some travellers will turn up at airports, claiming not to own a smartphone and offering the card as proof. If an airline refused travel to someone holding a vaccine card only, that might leave their company open to legal action, since they could argue that is the only reasonable proof that could be provided. Not everyone uses the internet, even today.
“It is reassuring to see that, according to the Daily Telegraph, with the EU set to give British holidaymakers the green light to use “vaccine passports” to enter Europe, member states will also be recommended to set up digital portals that will enable Britons to use the NHS app as a vaccine passport. Those who are not vaccinated will have to present a negative Covid test or evidence of immunity.
“Until all countries introduced digital vaccination records, security will be weak and be dependent on hard-pressed border and travel staff checking documents diligently. The queues will be lengthy.”
Riskline has recently added a new section on Vaccinations to its highly popular COVID-19 microsite and to the latest release of its COVID-19 API. Among the information it provides are whether vaccination is mandatory for entry to a country and any exemptions a vaccinated traveller may have and a list of accepted certificates and apps.