WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Several companies and tech firms have begun developing apps to create a digital vaccine passport that could serve as a health pass.
- Businesses and establishments could soon require people to be vaccinated before entering their vicinities.
- According to Dr. Julie Parsonnet, the efficacy of the COVID-19 inoculation drive is still not known.
As the vaccination campaign already kick-started in the US and other parts of the world, several companies have started developing software apps to come up with a ‘vaccine passport,’ that would serve as an individual’s proof that he/she has taken the shots.
Soon, public places would likely require people to be vaccinated before entering establishments. Numerous companies and tech groups have been working on smartphone apps that would store an individual’s COVID-19 vaccination information and yield digital certification.
An initiative by nonprofit organizations The Commons Project and the World Economic Forum, the Common Trust Network has collaborated with various airlines such as Cathay Pacific, JetBlue, Lufthansa, Swiss Airlines, United Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic alongside a multitude of health systems in the US and the Aruba government.
Developed by the NGOs, the CommonPass app would allow users to upload medical information like proof of vaccination or a COVID-19 test result. This then could become a health certification passport in a QR code form that could be presented to authorities requiring such information.
For example, the app has prepared health pass requirements for departure and arrival checkpoints when taking a flight.
Working on its own app, IBM developed ‘Digital Health Pass,’ which would aid businesses and establishments to customize selected details for entry such as COVID-19 tests, body temperature, and vaccination proof. All credentials would be kept in a mobile wallet.
Passport developers would also need to account for the type of vaccine of a user since there are numerous COVID-19 vaccines made globally.
“A point of entry — whether that’s a border, whether that’s a venue — is going to want to know, did you get the Pfizer vaccine, did you get the Russian vaccine, did you get the Chinese vaccine, so they can make a decision accordingly,” Chief marketing and communications officer Thomas Crampton of The Commons Project said.
According to Stanford University infectious disease specialist Dr. Julie Parsonnet, a vaccine passport may not be a guarantee that a person could safely come to a public event or take a flight since it is still not known how effective the vaccines are in mitigating the virus spread.
Meanwhile, passport developers would need to assure people that they are accountable for holding private medical information in the advent of vaccine passports.
IBM, CommonPass, as well as the Linux Foundation have emphasized the security of the users’ personal information as an integral part of their actions. IBM claimed that users can control and give their consent to the use of their medical data and would allow them to pick the specific details they want to share.
Source: NBC News