More than 20 countries have lifted restrictions for vaccinated travelers, with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) supporting their data and evidence-driven decisions to open their borders and extend unrestricted access to travel.
“Countries that seize the opportunity offered by the increasing numbers of vaccinated travelers can protect their populations and reap an economic reward,” said IATA’s Director General Willie Walsh.
IATA added that in cases where vaccination is not possible, access to quarantine-free travel should be provided through COVID-19 testing strategies.
Germany is one of the latest countries to make quarantine alleviations for vaccinated travelers.
Vaccinated travelers are no longer subject to quarantine measures (except from certain high-risk countries).
Germany also removed quarantine requirements for travelers with a negative COVID-19 test result (except from certain high-risk countries).
The German government’s decision followed a review of scientific advice from the Robert Koch Institute concluding that vaccinated travelers are no longer significant in the spread of the disease and do not pose a major risk to the population.
Germany said vaccination reduces risk of COVID-19 transmission to levels below the risk from a false negative rapid antigen test.
Germany’s decision conforms with recommendations from the European Commission and the European Parliament, which are based on scientific advice from the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC).
“Based on the limited evidence available, the likelihood of an infected vaccinated person transmitting the disease is currently assessed to be very low to low,” the ECDC stated.
In the US, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that “with a 90% effective vaccine, pre-travel testing, post-travel testing, and 7-day self-quarantine provide minimal additional benefit.”
The ultimate goal is a safe opening of borders to international travel, according to IATA’s Director General.
“Scientific evidence and data such as that presented by RKI, ECDC and USC CDC should be the basis for the decision-making needed to achieve that,” Walsh underscored.
“There is increasing scientific evidence that vaccination is not only protecting people but also dramatically reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission,” he pointed out.
“This is bringing us closer to a world where vaccination and testing enables the freedom to travel without quarantine.”
The over 20 countries which opened their borders to vaccinated travelers “are the best practice examples for others to quickly follow,” Walsh stressed.
IATA’s poll showed that 81% of international travelers are willing to get vaccinated to be able to travel.
Moreover, 74% of people in the same poll agreed that those vaccinated should be able to travel by air without restrictions.