From October 19, fully vaccinated Americans will be able to visit Singapore quarantine-free for the first time in more than 18-months. But there’s a big problem that will mean millions of travelers from the United States will still be barred from entering Singapore even though they are fully vaccinated – Singapore refuses to accept the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccination card as proof.
The Biden administration has repeatedly refused calls to set up a central federally managed register of vaccination records which means the only proof that many American’s have of their COVID-19 vaccination status has been their CDC card.
So far, beyond some travelers accidentally damaging or losing their CDC card, there haven’t been too many issues for Americans wanting to travel abroad. Many countries, including all of Europe and the UK, have accepted the CDC vaccination card as proof even though they can be easily forged and aren’t easily verified.
In comparison, the European Union launched its bloc-wide Digital COVID Certificate back in July and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) was so impressed with the QR code enabled certificates that it wants the system adopted as a global standard for vaccine passports.
Even the UK which developed its own QR code enabled digital vaccine certificate is considering plugging into the European Union’s system.
There is, however, a competing standard for digital vaccine certification known as the Smart Health Card format which was developed by the New York City-based not-for-profit Commons Project Foundation.
The Smart Health Card is part of the CommonTrust Network which “serves as a global registry of trusted laboratory, vaccination and health record data sources.”
Singapore’s Ministry of Transport says it will only accept American’s who are fully vaccinated if they can present proof of vaccination in the Smart Health Card (SHC) format on the Common Trust Network.
Unfortunately, not all states have so far signed up to the Smart Health Card scheme to enable their residents to provide digital QR code enabled proof of vaccination. The latest states to provide access to the Smart Health Card for COVID-19 vaccination include:
- North Dakota
- New York
- Washington DC
- West Virginia
In New York, the required Smart Health Card for international travel is only accessible through Excelsior Pass Plus and not the standard Excelsior Pass.
Oregon is one of a number of states actively considering creating a digital vaccine passport but some states have passed legislation that will make it impossible for Americans to provide digital proof of vaccination.
Alabama and Arkansas have banned vaccine passports, as have Florida and Iowa.
Even if you live in a state where digital vaccine passports aren’t available, you might be able to access a Smart Health Card to prove your vaccination status. A number of healthcare providers and pharmacies are connected to the CommonTrust Network and might be able to provide you with a Smart Health Card.
The full list can be found here.
As a reminder: To be considered fully vaccinated, you must have received both doses of a WHO-approved two-dose vaccine or the single-shot J&J Janssen vaccine. At least 14-days must have passed since the final dose before arrival in Singapore.
Mix and match vaccine doses are accepted and there is no requirement, as yet, to have received a booster dose.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.