COVID-19 Vaccine Certificates for International Travel


Monday, April 26, 10am-12pm (via Zoom)

COVID-19 Vaccine Certificates for International Travel


As millions of people worldwide are receiving COVID-19 vaccinations every day, governments, international organizations and international non-governmental organizations are increasingly looking to proof of COVID-19 vaccination as a means of lifting international coronavirus travel restrictions while maintaining the safety of international travel. The European Commission is creating a “Digital Green Certificate” to provide proof that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result or recovered from COVID-19 in order to facilitate intra-EU travel; China is establishing a digital COVID-19 vaccination certificate for its citizens planning cross-border travel and, on March 27, New York launched the Excelsior Pass, the first digital proof of vaccination issued by any US state. Nongovernmental organizations, such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Commons Project, have developed smartphone apps that can be used by governments and airlines as platforms for providing proof of vaccinations and negative COVID-19 tests. Given the proliferation of digital vaccine certificates around the world, the World Health Organization (WHO) has begun a standardization effort by issuing “Interim guidance for developing a Smart Vaccination Certificate.” 

This Zoom workshop will examine the promise of COVID-19 vaccine certificates to enable safer international travel and consider the challenges of implementing them. Click here to register.


“Overviews of the IATA Travel Pass, WHO Smart Vaccination Certificate and New York’s Excelsior Pass”
Rey Koslowski, Professor of Political Science, University at Albany 

  • Rey Koslowski is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Master of International Affairs Program, Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY).  He has published extensively on the politics of international migration and border control as well as the technologies of border control, including “The International Travel Regime,” in his edited volume, Global Mobility Regimes (2011) and “International Travel Security and the Global Compacts on Refugees and Migration,” International Migration (December 2019). 

“Reigniting Cross-Border Mobility with Vaccine Certification in a Trusted Traveler Regime” 
Alan Bersin, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University 

  • Alan Bersin is a Senior Fellow of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard and a Global Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.  Bersin served as Assistant Secretary for Policy & International Affairs and Chief Diplomatic Officer in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) until January 2017. In those capacities, Bersin led and oversaw DHS’s international engagement, served as the principal advisor to the Secretary in all matters pertaining to international affairs, and was responsible for leading the Department’s strategic planning and policy formulation functions. From 2010 to 2012, Bersin served as Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. 

“Political Challenges to Digital COVID-19 Vaccination Certificates” 
Sarah Kreps, Professor of Government and Director, Cornell Techpolicy Lab, Cornell University

  • Sarah Kreps is the John L. Wetherill Professor in the Department of Government, Adjunct Professor of Law, and the Director of the Cornell Tech Policy Lab at Cornell University. Her teaching and research focus on the intersection of international politics, technology, and national security.  Professor Kreps is co-author (with Baobao Zhang, Laurin Weissinger, Johannes Himmelreich, Nina McMurry, Tiffany Li, and Naomi Schinerman) of “Building robust and ethical vaccination verification systems,” TechStream, Brookings Institution, January 26, 2021. 


Marie McAuliffe, Head, Migration Research Division, International Organization for Migration

  • Marie McAuliffe is the head of the Migration Research Division at the International Organization for Migration (IOM) headquarters in Geneva and Editor of IOM’s flagship World Migration Report. She is an international migration specialist with more than 20 years of experience in migration as a practitioner, program manager, senior official and researcher.  She co-chairs the World Bank’s KNOMAD technical working group on migration data and demography, is a member of MIT’s Global Technology Review Panel, curates the World Economic Forum’s Migration Transformation Map and has been regularly called upon to advise Ministers, senior officials and CEOs on migration and displacement. 

Sponsored By:

Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy 

Co-Sponsored By: 

Global Health Studies Program of the School of Public Health and the Center for Technology in Government 

Click here to register.