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Airlines asking US to standardize COVID-19 travel documents

Airlines asking US to standardize COVID-19 travel documents
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Airlines and other industry groups are calling on the Biden administration to develop COVID-19 health credentials that include information about tests and vaccinations for travelers.

Airlines for America, along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Travel Association, and others, wrote a letter to Jeff ZientsJeff ZientsOvernight Health Care: Biden sets goal of at least one shot to 70 percent of adults by July 4 | White House to shift how it distributes unallocated vaccines to states White House to shift how it distributes unallocated vaccines to states Pressure builds for Biden to back vaccine patent waivers MORE, White House COVID-19 recovery team coordinator, on Monday to ask for the administration to partner with industry on creating credentials.

The benefits of a COVID-19 health credential (CHC), according to the group, include improving the efficiency and accuracy of verifying health records, strengthening countries’ risk mitigation efforts and preserving the privacy of passenger health data.

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“It is crucial to establish uniform guidance for CHCs. Global efforts to create CHCs are already underway, and while we understand and support the critical need for an internationally harmonized approach, the U.S. must be a leader in this development,” the groups wrote.

A CHC would include identity verification and personal health records, as well as protection for personal data. 

The groups argued that the diverse and fragmented approach to digital health credentials that other countries have used for air travel testing requirements has caused confusion and increased fraud. 

They called on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to take the lead on creating a credential. 

“By quickly establishing federal guidelines for CHCs, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) can help lead the global discussion, increasing certainty that test results are legitimate, prioritizing passenger privacy, improving operational efficiency for the aviation industry ecosystem, and strengthening protections against importation of the virus,” they wrote.

Other groups on the letter include the Air Traffic Control Association, the Airports Council International-North America, the Allied Pilots Association, the National Air Carrier Association and the Travel Technology Association.

The CDC released guidance on Monday that kept the recommendation against travel intact. Officials said that even for fully vaccinated people, they recommend against travel.