The vaccination campaign will start by the end of this month according to the announcement made by Federal Health Minister and Prime Minister and the plan is to vaccinate everyone (those that want to be vaccinated) by October 2021.
So once the vaccination is done would it be safe to travel by train, bus, or plane? What are the proper practices for protecting others?
Even before the vaccine was ready transportation has been labelled by health officials with blanket terms like “safe” or “unsafe.” Studies conducted suggest that when certain criteria are met, public transport is relatively safer, from a viral-transmission standpoint, than one might assume.
A trove of new research indicates that the chance of contracting the coronavirus while flying is low. For trains and planes alike, the focus is and will continue to be concrete, actionable measures that mitigate the risk, like high-efficiency air filtration, enhanced disinfection, mask requirements, social distancing, and capacity limits.
With that in mind, let’s look at this a little deeper:
At this point, researchers said that they do not know if a vaccinated person can still become infected and transmit either asymptomatic infection or very mild unnoticed infection.
Therefore, we can probably expect the basic protocols for protecting others (masks, distancing, handwashing. Etc.) It is also why airlines and other transportation companies are nowhere close to getting rid of them. In fact, those protocols have only been strengthened in recent weeks by governments health authorities.
It can be frustrating to think that with vaccination the goalposts have been moved but it looks like you cannot just take your mask off and run around like pre-pandemic once you are vaccinated.
Will we need a negative virus test to fly if we have a vaccination card?
For the time being, in countries where vaccination has already begun, it looks like that the vaccination cards don’t supersede anything.
A big list of governments, including Australia in the last few weeks have introduced new requirements requiring a negative coronavirus test (or documentation of recovery) for all incoming international travellers, whether they are residents or not. The test must be completed within three days of departure and submitted to the airline before boarding, and there are no exceptions for antibody or vaccination status.
There are only a handful number of countries that do not require either pre-departure negative test or quarantine if you have been vaccinated. This number may or may not grow with the time, at the moment is unknown, therefore we can safely assume that those guidelines are going to stay in place until the science says differently.
So, what do the vaccination cards mean in the future? Experts are predicting a surge in third-party “health passports” that store test results, vaccination records, and travel guidelines. Some, like CommonPass and the IATA Travel Pass, have already been tested or are still getting tested on different routes and airlines and will be further assessed, to eventually be rolled out to the public in the coming months. But for now, these apps are information guardians only: Travelers should not expect them to override testing mandates and other guidelines.