a group of palm trees with the sun in the background

It’s going to be a long winter. Businesses will fail, trips will be cancelled and gatherings will be missed, but greater hope is emerging that covid-19 can be managed, and happy travels will resume once again.

News is breaking of a Pfizer covid-19 vaccine study of over 40,000 volunteers which aimed for a 60% effective rate in preventing covid-19, and managed an incredible 90% success. It’s being hailed as a huge victory for science, and one of the keys necessary to getting the world moving again. With all the good news, there are a few things worth knowing about the where and when.

Travel And Covid-19 Vaccine

A covid-19 vaccine could allow travel to recover to a world much like we experienced before March, where masks were not necessary on planes, and testing wasn’t required to visit a destination. And quarantine – ugh – none of that either. By all accounts, one is coming, and actually quite a few.

Like all great things in the world though, it won’t happen overnight. At least until early next year, expect countries to hold onto entry restrictions, including pre-flight testing, quarantine periods and social distancing requirements.

Pfizer and BioNTech wowed the world today with news of 90% effectiveness in their vaccine preventing covid-19, but the logistics to get the vaccine distributed are more complicated than many others.

The vaccine is the world’s first based on RNA, and requires storage at temperatures far lower than standard refrigeration can offer. Plus, they’ll need literal billions of doses to be manufactured. That doesn’t happen overnight.

According to Bloomberg, this means 50 million doses – no insignificant number – could be available in 2020, and enough doses for up to 650 million people available in 2021.

a group of palm trees against a blue sky

Other vaccines are also in the pipeline, including the Oxford Astra Zeneca proposal, which is said to be unlikely to offer 90% effectiveness, but wouldn’t require the colder storage which many places are ill equipped to provide. In other words, more people could receive doses of this vaccine as well, if it makes it through final trials.

As treatment protocols continue to help avoid worst possible outcomes, confidence will slowly grow around the world that the most extreme measures may no longer be necessary, and some level of normalcy could eventually resume. The world may never be the same, but in many ways that’s not a bad thing.

Japan’s previously announced plans to slowly reopen to outside visitors from April 2021 seem to be in line with estimates of other countries seeking to minimize risk until better solutions exist. If you wanted to start planning travel, summer 2021 is less out of the question now than it was before. Even spring is looking a lot better.

Many habits developed in the interim will help to prevent future worries, with better hygiene, mindfulness around social distancing and better understanding of how to identify and mitigate any spread.

A vaccine is part of a wide slew of measures which will get the world moving again, but will be the only one. Still, it’s the one people cling onto, because it can create the most instant impact, while simultaneously inspiring confidence. Science for the win.

The “Great Pause” allowed destinations to reconsider the effects of over tourism and how they could improve guest experience. The idyllic Maldives even launched a loyalty program encouraging visitors to come back, with perks for doing so. Travel won’t be taken for granted again, and if positive signs continue, it may not be long before you find yourself packing those tragic Hawaiian shirts and flip flops.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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