Quantcast

Post-vaccine Amtrak travel

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
26,562
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
If the vaccine is just 95% effective, and its effectiveness degrades over time, and it varies in different populations, and you need to be revaccinated periodically, not sure what a passport verification of vaccination will ultimately prove, other than a false sense of reassurance.
It would be more sensible to work on a very sensitive and fast virus test that can be reasonably administered to everyone before boarding a flight. Still not perfect, but it at least detects the presence of the virus directly instead of depending on long winded possibly erroneous, statistical assumptions based on vaccination of various sorts with different efficacy and different periods of effectiveness, possibly.

Moral of the story is, keep you N95 or better masks on most of the time when in enclosed space, specially if you are in a high risk category. There are a few really nice transparent masks coming on the market as we speak. Come to think of it, it could become a space age fashion statement! :)
 

Lonestar648

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
May 17, 2015
Messages
2,787
I think we are dealing with the old saying: The more you know, the less you know. A year from now we will know so much more about Covid, but we will also learn how much more we need to research. For Amtrak, and other transportation companies, it is going to be a long road with constantly changing CDC, WHO, and International governmental standards. This will make many potential passengers refrain from traveling long distance because different cities, counties, and states could even have different entry requirements.
 

me_little_me

Conductor
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
3,494
It will take quite a while to incorporate that information in a Passport though. There will have to be an interim solution. They will also have to figure out a way of easily updating information in a trustworthy way in the Passport chip every so often, since the vaccination info will presumably need to be updated every year or more or less frequently depending on how long the immunity lasts. So while it is a good sentiment, realizing it will take a while. As a starter the Data element to hold the information has to be standardized and added to the Passport data standard.
I would think that a QR code or some such stamped on a passport page or similar document provided by the to Amtrak that contains en encrypted version of the passport number (or drivers licence information) ) intermixed with the date and location of the vaccination could be made to work for Amtrak and airlines.
 

Ferroequinologist

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 18, 2016
Messages
239
I would think that a QR code or some such stamped on a passport page or similar document provided by the to Amtrak that contains en encrypted version of the passport number (or drivers licence information) ) intermixed with the date and location of the vaccination could be made to work for Amtrak and airlines.
Such a requirement would surely be challenged as a violation of civil rights and very likely would reach the Supreme Court. Incidentally, there is a recent article in the Washington Post about how over half of doctors and health care workers are wary of taking the Covid vaccines. They do not believe that there is enough information available at this time to know how safe they are. With so much uncertainty I don't see how government can compel people to take a Covid vaccine and go so far as to embed vaccination information in ID cards.
 

tricia

Conductor
Joined
Aug 23, 2011
Messages
1,170
Location
Spring Creek, NC
Such a requirement would surely be challenged as a violation of civil rights and very likely would reach the Supreme Court. Incidentally, there is a recent article in the Washington Post about how over half of doctors and health care workers are wary of taking the Covid vaccines. They do not believe that there is enough information available at this time to know how safe they are. With so much uncertainty I don't see how government can compel people to take a Covid vaccine and go so far as to embed vaccination information in ID cards.
No compulsion--no one is being forced to ride Amtrak, but if you choose to ride Amtrak (rather than, say, drive in a car where no ID is required), you already are required to show ID that already holds a variety of personal information. And currently required to wear a mask.

It's obviously too early to nail down the specifics of when and how vaccines might or might not be required. In the grand tradition of AU, we're speculating far and wide here. 😊
 

jebr

Conductor
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Joined
Jan 23, 2012
Messages
4,020
Location
"The Last Great City of the East," St. Paul, MN
With so much uncertainty I don't see how government can compel people to take a Covid vaccine and go so far as to embed vaccination information in ID cards.
I would be shocked if COVID-19 vaccine information would ever be required to be stored on a standard ID card issued by a state or federal government in the United States. It took nearly 15 years to get REAL ID started in all 50 states, and the underlying stated rationale for it was far more bipartisan (protection against terrorism) than the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been. I'd be surprised if there's even a universal standard rolled out for optional inclusion of said information on ID. There's basically no way to put it on an existing ID that'd be even remotely verifiable (maybe on the magstripe, but that's not human-readable and adding a sticker would almost certainly be trivial to fake.)

All of that is even before considering the decentralized nature of the rollout of the vaccine, and the fact that there's no universal photo ID for every American. The vaccination distribution will be handled by state and local departments of health, in partnership with local clinics and pharmacies. There's currently no national database that I'm aware of that stores who got which specific vaccine, especially to a level where you could definitively prove that this particular person got this particular vaccine. I wouldn't be surprised to see some sort of app or certificate for vaccination available to show voluntarily, but something that's federally-driven seems unlikely given that vaccinations will likely start within the next month or so, and there's no current platform set up for that information.

Same on the international stage. We might eventually see some sort of vaccination "visa" in passports, but as far as I'm aware that doesn't exist in a universal, stored-in-the-passport standard, and any new standard will take time to develop. What's more likely is that you'll see vaccination records required to be issued a visa, and possibly some tightening on who needs to get a visa before arrival, especially for people from countries which have a large non-COVID-19-vaccinated population.

What's most likely to happen in the US is that, while the vaccine is never required for all citizens, after a year or two enough people get it that it's virtually a non-issue for the population at large. In the interim, you might see some places "require" a vaccine to enter or travel on that mode of transportation, but it's about as well checked as the current verification processes for "have you been in contact with anyone who's had COVID-19 in the past 14 days, have you had symptoms, etc." - basically, checkmark a box or sign a piece of paper attesting to this, but there'll be no verification of that. Other countries may handle things differently, but the current political structures in the US make it nearly impossible for any sort of universal database to take hold, and so verification will almost certainly be difficult-to-impossible, especially on a large scale.

As for Amtrak? They might "require" it at some point, but it's almost certainly going to be simply added to the text that you checkmark when buying a ticket stating that you'll follow all of Amtrak's rules, or what airlines require when checking in for a flight. Even if Amtrak tries to offer a "vaccinated-people" train car, I don't have a ton of confidence for that to be universally enforced or well-executed. Even then, those sorts of things likely won't happen until we're at a point where everyone who wants a vaccine has been able to get one - until then, it'll be mask wearing and social distancing.
 

Cho Cho Charlie

Conductor
Joined
Apr 9, 2009
Messages
2,263
Location
Near an Amtrak station
To simply go to a public school (and probably most private schools too) already requires proof of vaccines for communicable diseases. A vaccine for Covid-19 will simply be added to the list.

IMHO, to date, this vaccine requirement hasn't been declared to be a violation of personal rights, and I doubt adding Covid-19 will change that.

Its really not a question of a personal choice to protect yourself, or not. That's because its to protect others, just like masks are today. No one has a basic right to spread a deadly disease to others.
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
26,562
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
Oh yeah, there should be no problem in listing another vaccine in the vaccine record, and there should be no problem in requiring the production of a certificate with proper seal or emblem on it for accessing various services either.

My question throughout has been to what extent I would shed my mask based on that certification. Maybe I will. Maybe I won't. We'll have to see how the actual infection profile goes.
 
Last edited:

me_little_me

Conductor
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
3,494
With so much uncertainty I don't see how government can compel people to take a Covid vaccine and go so far as to embed vaccination information in ID cards.
I think you may have somewhat misinterpreted my suggestion. I was not suggesting the vaccine information be put on the Drivers License but that the Drivers License information (or other way to identify that the person claiming to have taken the vaccine) can be identified as having done so. The idea is that you have something that states you have been vaccinated along with some evidence that the evidence provided is for you. Stamping it in a passport could be an option for the convenience of the passenger so as not to have to carry yet another document. But if that other "document" was just a scannable code, then if it contained your DL or passport number or other recognized proof that it belonged to you, it would be simpler to process. Otherwise the document would have to have some evidence itself that it was yours and that would take longer to process you. It should be acceptable to have such a document at your choice.
 

Lonestar648

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
May 17, 2015
Messages
2,787
The big question is who is going to have the computer resources to track who has taken which vaccine and when and by whom? CDC? I hope not. States? Each state having autonomy to create and maintain their own tracking system. How would a company like Amtrak integrate with 50 different tracking systems, and what about international Amtrak customers? How can Amtrak interface multiple and different tracking systems, or will this be a DOT function for Amtrak and the airlines to use? If they just take the word of a filled out form just like the schools do, how would Amtrak or the Airlines know what is true? No one has thought this out, what will be needed in the future for government, for transportation, for state border crossings, for entry into school, for working in a large factory, and the list goes on and on. So what will life be like after a year with a vaccine? How many will be willing to take the vaccine? Post pandemic life may be something we have never thought of as real. How would Amtrak operate if each state established check points to insure who enter has been vaccinated. Unfortunately, I feel our postpandemic lives will have more government control than we have ever dreamed about.
 

Ziv

OBS Chief
Joined
Oct 25, 2011
Messages
699
Lonestar, how about my panglossian vision of 2022?
By late 2021 more than 80% of Americans (Norteamericano's for our friends South of the border) and more than 90% of Europeans have either had Covid or have had the two injections and seem to have at least some resistance. If traveling we are still required to carry a Yellow Innoculation pamphlet that is stamped by your doctor showing that you have had the vaccine or had the disease, but that is it. No central database needed. Since some form of herd immunity was realized when we passed 60% it is relatively safe for people to travel. Though there are occasional small outbreaks of Covid from time, people are sick of the shutdowns and the extreme social distancing and have largely, but not entirely, gone back to their lives pre-covid. Most still wear masks indoors when out in public, but it isn't mandated at this point. Movie theaters are still hurting because they are allowed just 50% capacity. Cafes may be limited as well, albeit maybe a bit less drastically.
People over 70 get used to either taking the risk by going out to indoor public spaces, or choose to stay at home or enjoy their time outdoors.
We would treat Covid the way people treated the Spanish Flu in 1921, as a painful lesson but not one that shapes every move we make going forward. Covid has been the death of "just" 1,440,00 people worldwide and 270,000 Americans. The Spanish Flu killed 50,000,000 or more in a world with less than half the population we have today. We recovered then and moved forward without crippling our freedoms. We will do so again. All we have to fear is fear itself.

The big question is who is going to have the computer resources to track who has taken which vaccine and when and by whom? CDC? I hope not. States? Each state having autonomy to create and maintain their own tracking system. How would a company like Amtrak integrate with 50 different tracking systems, and what about international Amtrak customers? How can Amtrak interface multiple and different tracking systems, or will this be a DOT function for Amtrak and the airlines to use? If they just take the word of a filled out form just like the schools do, how would Amtrak or the Airlines know what is true? No one has thought this out, what will be needed in the future for government, for transportation, for state border crossings, for entry into school, for working in a large factory, and the list goes on and on. So what will life be like after a year with a vaccine? How many will be willing to take the vaccine? Post pandemic life may be something we have never thought of as real. How would Amtrak operate if each state established check points to insure who enter has been vaccinated. Unfortunately, I feel our postpandemic lives will have more government control than we have ever dreamed about.
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
26,562
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
There are already data consolidators in place who will also consolidate vaccination data. Even today very few people or organizations actually interface with each state individually to get the data. That is done by consolidators like The COVD Project and others, and those that need across the board data and analysis go to those consolidators. Amtrak like everyone else will simply set up a relationship with one of the consolidators and use data and analysis from there.

As for individual's vaccination status, that will mostly be handed through vaccination certificate books that have already existed, issued by the health department or suitably agreed upon government entities. They might provide verification portals perhaps even using a WHO specified interface. Of course, one hopes that the US would have rejoined the civilized world by then.
 

me_little_me

Conductor
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
3,494
The big question is who is going to have the computer resources to track who has taken which vaccine and when and by whom? CDC? I hope not. States? Each state having autonomy to create and maintain their own tracking system. How would a company like Amtrak integrate with 50 different tracking systems, and what about international Amtrak customers? How can Amtrak interface multiple and different tracking systems, or will this be a DOT function for Amtrak and the airlines to use? If they just take the word of a filled out form just like the schools do, how would Amtrak or the Airlines know what is true? No one has thought this out, what will be needed in the future for government, for transportation, for state border crossings, for entry into school, for working in a large factory, and the list goes on and on. So what will life be like after a year with a vaccine? How many will be willing to take the vaccine? Post pandemic life may be something we have never thought of as real. How would Amtrak operate if each state established check points to insure who enter has been vaccinated. Unfortunately, I feel our postpandemic lives will have more government control than we have ever dreamed about.
It's already being done. When I got my flu shot at Sam's Club, my doctor had it in his records where and when I got it and the fact I got the one for seniors. I had not told him I was getting it as it was a last minute decision while we were buying out the TP section (only kidding) of Sam's and saw the sign about flu shots.
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
2,434
Location
Baltimore. MD
Way back in the day we needed to carry "The Yellow Bible" to get visas to certain countries. It was a fold out pamphlet that you had stamped with your innoculations. It was going out of use when I started traveling internationally in the early 1990's.
I imagine we will go back to something similar.
Yeah, that's what I got when I got my smallpox vaccination in 1971. It fit right into the passport book.
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
2,434
Location
Baltimore. MD
It will take quite a while to incorporate that information in a Passport though. There will have to be an interim solution. They will also have to figure out a way of easily updating information in a trustworthy way in the Passport chip every so often, since the vaccination info will presumably need to be updated every year or more or less frequently depending on how long the immunity lasts. So while it is a good sentiment, realizing it will take a while. As a starter the Data element to hold the information has to be standardized and added to the Passport data standard.
Why does everything have to be computerized? They could just go back to issuing the "yellow bible" vaccination certificate that can fit into a passport. And worries that these can be forged are countered by worries that the computerized stuff can be hacked, and often from a very remote distance. As I was taught in introductory computer class -- "garbage in, garbage out."
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
26,562
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
Why does everything have to be computerized? They could just go back to issuing the "yellow bible" vaccination certificate that can fit into a passport. And worries that these can be forged are countered by worries that the computerized stuff can be hacked, and often from a very remote distance. As I was taught in introductory computer class -- "garbage in, garbage out."
I did not say that anything needs to be computerized. I was responding to someone else that said so. Merely stating that Passport was not a practical vehicle for doing spo. I agree that a simple vaccication certificate would be fine, though I am not sure what that says other than a date on which one got the last jab. Since rel;atively little is known at present about how long the immunity lasts it is a bit of a crapshoot until we know more. So in some sense even having a vaccination cert initially at least is a bit of GIGO anyway, no matter which form it comes in. A more reliable thing would be a a fast serum test perhaps. Anyway, we have hashed over this in some detail further up thread.
 
Last edited:

Dakota 400

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
2,457
I wonder how many of us still have the original "Yellow Bible". I have mine and always carry it with me when I am traveling internationally.
 

Ziv

OBS Chief
Joined
Oct 25, 2011
Messages
699
I saw mine when I moved last year and it made me laugh.
"Yellow bible, check. Visas arranged before travel, check. Travelers checks, check. Maps and guidebooks for destination, check."
Travel used to be a bit more structured. Now, hit Kayak for a ticket, carry your ATM card and your smart phone and you are good to go.
But Amtrak going back to the Yellow Bible or something even smaller and easier to tote may be a good interim measure for Amtrak to take. If they can't arrange for a super fast Covid test as you arrive at the train station, having the ability to prove that you have either already had the disease or the injection would be second best. And given the fact that some trips are over 48 hours, a Yellow Bible might actually be better than a fast Covid test at the beginning of the trip.

I wonder how many of us still have the original "Yellow Bible". I have mine and always carry it with me when I am traveling internationally.
 

Barb Stout

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 13, 2019
Messages
612
Yellow Bible: My first entry into the Yellow Bible was somewhere in the 2000s when I first traveled to exotic locales (South America). And yes, mine is still tucked inside my passport. When did "they" completely stop looking at those? It couldn't have been the '90s because I didn't even have one then. Maybe the travel health service I used was out-of-date or old fashioned.
 
Top