Costa Rica Promotes the Implementation of Special Passport for those Travelers Vaccinated Against COVID-19

    Objective is to allow fast entry of Costa Ricans in countries that admit this document

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    Costa Rica values the incorporation of a COVID-19 passport or health passport, that is, a certification, digital or physical, stating that the traveler is vaccinated and that their boarding is safe.

    This was confirmed by Massimo Manzi, executive director of the Costa Rican Chamber of Health, who commented that they are analyzing with various providers the type of document that validates vaccination in Costa Rica for international travel.

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    “We studied the idea with several affiliates and looked for alliances, so that as a Chamber we can be promoters of an initiative of this type, if a health passport is incorporated, the ideal is that it be valid in a group of countries, so that it is effective,” Manzi said.

    In this sense, Manzi considers it convenient to discuss with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) a mechanism to facilitate business trips and tourism among its member countries.

    Chamber of Tourism support

    The health passport is also supported by Rubén Acón, president of the Chamber of Tourism, as “it would facilitate international transit.” The proposal was discussed in the framework of a meeting of the Federation of Central American Chambers of Tourism, and its plan is for it to be a digital certification that is part of a mobile app on safe travel. In this case, it would be a mechanism for regional trips in Central America and financing would be sought through the IDB Lab of the Inter-American Development Bank.

    Already implemented elsewhere

    COVID-19 passports would not be something new, since New York became the first North American state to incorporate them, on March 26th. Developed by IBM, the “Excelsior Pass” combines a smartphone wallet application with a QR code scanner.

    Users link their vaccination records or negative PCR or antigen test results to the Excelsior Pass, which then displays a QR code that businesses and venues can scan. People can also choose to print the QR code for verification. In total, there are 17 digital passport development initiatives in the United States, according to The Washington Post.

    There are also plans to incorporate them into the European Union and individual initiatives in Sweden and Denmark. Even Israel, the country with the most vaccinated per capita, has had its COVID-19 passport since February.

    Economic incentive

    Incorporating the mechanism soon would be ideal to reactivate the economy, especially at a time when vaccination is already underway. The experts consulted do not consider that a document of this type is discriminatory, despite the fact that there will be people who have difficulty accessing the vaccine for free.

    “Vaccination responds to prioritization processes established by the countries, so the people who are going to receive the vaccines first do not receive it as a discriminatory benefit, but rather responding to very objective variables. It would be discriminatory the moment that prioritization is lost, and I don’t think that will be the case in Costa Rica ”, concluded Manzi.

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