Latest developments: COVID-19 and travel

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SIA aims to vaccinate employees while large companies help with the development of digital vaccination passport

The world has turned towards vaccination progress as the most promising way out of the global pandemic. Companies are ready to start vaccinating their workforce and help create digital passports in an attempt to bring the world back to normality. Read to find out more about the latest developments in the travel industry that has been hit hard by COVID-19. 

Singapore Airlines to vaccinate all crew members

Singapore Airlines has announced its plan to become the first airline to vaccinate all crew members against COVID-19. The airline’s pilots, gate agents, cabin crew, and others that come into contact with the public would be offered a vaccine.

The vaccine would be provided by the Singaporean government free of charge. The country has acquired a vaccine from Pfizer, also approved by the European Union, which requires two shots within several weeks of each other. 

In the first days after the announcement, 5,200 crew members of Singapore’s flag carrier had already signed up to receive the inoculation. Vaccinations are expected to begin within days.

United Airlines launches Travel-Ready Center and considers making COVID-19 vaccination mandatory

The Chicago-based airline has introduced a digital travel solution — Travel-Ready Center — which allows “customers to upload and validate test results, review local entry requirements, find testing providers, and store vaccination records”, according to the United website.

Available in the mobile app and website, United has become the first airline to integrate all the features.

“While pre-travel testing and documentation are key to safely reopening global travel, we know it can be confusing for customers when they’re preparing for a flight,” said Linda Jojo, Executive Vice President for Technology and Chief Digital Officer at United.

“Our ‘Travel-Ready Center’ gives customers a personalized, step-by-step guide of what is needed for their trip, a simple way to upload required documents and quickly get their boarding pass, fully integrated within our app and website.”

It’s not the only news from United Airlines. The airline’s Chief Executive Officer Scott Kirby wants to see COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for employees. He’s also urged other companies to mandate the vaccine to their workforce.

“I think the right thing to do is for United Airlines, and for other companies, to require the vaccines and to make them mandatory,” said Kirby at an employee town hall, according to a transcript provided by the company.

The airline employs around 60,000 people. If Kirby’s shoutout was answered, United could be among the first companies to start vaccinating. 

Large companies join the development of digital vaccination passport

Leaders among technology and health care organizations have joined in on an initiative to develop a COVID-19 vaccination passport. The Vaccine Credential Initiative aims to provide everyone access to a secure digital platform that helps keep track of COVID-19 vaccinations.

Allowing its users to store their vaccination documents digitally in an app on their smartphones, the passport could be used for travel, work, study, and an array of activities and events like accessing concert venues.

The app would provide details on the user’s inoculation history, including information about the type of vaccine used, dose, and the date of vaccination. It would also allow its users to make a hard copy of their documents if needed.

The coalition members include companies such as Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, Cerner, and the Mayo Clinic, and others.

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