Hope on the horizon: travel in the age of vaccinations

Published: Apr. 2, 2021 at 10:41 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - For many, 2020 was a lost year for travel. But is hope on the horizon, with vaccination numbers rising daily?

For Tallahassee residents like Jeremiah Murphy, the itch for an adventure needs to be scratched.

“Honestly, I’m tired of sitting in the same chair in my house. I want to be able to get out, I want to work and travel a little more,” Murphy explained.

Murphy is halfway to fully vaccinated, and he’s booked with confidence. He has a trip to attend a friend’s wedding coming up.

“Now that I’m going to be fully vaccinated, I’ll be much more comfortable with something like that,” Murphy added.

At Holiday Cruises and Tours, the phones are ringing once again. “Yeah, they’re ready to go,” said travel advisor Lenny Kopple.

Kopple said vaccination inspires some confidence, but many are still playing it safe. “Most of this stuff is further out, end of this year, beginning of next year,” he said.

While a U.S. passport is needed for traveling overseas, could a vaccine passport become commonplace?

“The idea of vaccine passports are an ethical minefield,” said University of South Florida medical ethics professor, Katherine Drabiak.

Drabiak pointed out that certain countries have required vaccines for other diseases to travel for years, and certain vaccines are required, with exemptions for schools, but a COVID-19 passport — especially used within the U.S. — is unprecedented.

“What we haven’t seen is the idea of large, broad scale mandates for the entire population,” said Drabiak.

Governor Ron DeSantis made it official Friday with the Executive Order, saying, “We’re not going to support the idea of a vaccine passport.” No business can bar non-vaccinated customers without losing out on state-funded grants.

Drabiak said the measure keeps with U.S. tradition of individual choice over state mandate.

“Really insulate the medical decision individuals are making and make sure it’s a medical decision that stems from informed consent rather than coercion,” Drabiak said.

The governor specifically mentioned restaurants, movie theaters and sporting events as places he doesn’t want this to happen, yet there seems to be no evidence of a business trying to bar non-vaccinated people in the Big Bend.

As for cruise lines, Royal Caribbean plans to sail from the Caribbean in June, with every adult passenger needing to show proof of vaccination to board.

Friday evening, the CDC issued its first update on cruises in five months, telling cruise lines they’ll need to conduct “trial” sailings with volunteers to make sure new policies work before welcoming passengers. However, it did not offering a timeline on when that can happen.

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