Digital medical passport is essential to make international travel easier
One of the executive decrees of the US aimed at preventing the Covid-19 pandemic requires government agencies to "evaluate the feasibility" of linking certification of nCoV vaccination with other immunization records and create digital versions of them.
The Danish government on Feb. 3 said that in the next three to four months, it will issue digital passports that will allow citizens to prove they have been vaccinated.
Etihad Airways is one of the first airlines globally to launch IATA Travel Pass / ph: Etihad Airways
It's not just governments that mention vaccine passports. In a few weeks, Etihad Airways and Emirates will use a digital pass, developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), to help passengers manage their travel plans and provide the airlines and the government with evidence that they have been vaccinated or tested for Covid-19.
The challenge now is how to create a document or application that proves that vaccinations are globally accepted, protect the privacy of injecters, and make them accessible to everyone.
Immunization card or passport is document that proves that you have been vaccinated with Covid-19. Some versions also allow people to present that they have tested negative for the virus, making it easier to travel. They can be an application on a phone or part of a digital wallet.
"It's about trying to digitize an ongoing process, making it more harmonious and easier, making it more convenient for people to travel between countries without having to show different documents for different countries and at different checkpoints"said Nick Careen, vice president for airports, passenger, cargo and security at IATA.
IATA is one of the organizations involved in the development of digital solutions to streamline the travel licensing process over the years. With pandemic outbreak, these groups are working to add vaccination status information to passports. The idea is that if you integrate all the necessary information on your phone, you can save a considerable amount of time.
In addition to IATA, IBM is also developing its own Digital Health Card that enables individuals to present proof of their Covid-19 negative immunization and test status to get to public places such as stadiums, airports, universities or workplaces.
The World Economic Forum and the Commons Project Foundation, a Swiss nonprofit, are testing a type of digital medical passport, known as the CommonPass, provides information on the owner's Covid-19 immunization status and testing. It generates a QR code that is visible to the authorities as needed.
The Covid-19 pandemic changed many aspects of life. In the future, there will be many activities and aspects of life that only vaccinated persons will be allowed to participate in.
To allow someone to enter the country, governments and health officials will need to know if the person has been vaccinated or tested negative for the virus. Many countries have asked people of entry to present evidence of negative testing at the border. Such evidence could be essential to restarting the global tourism industry, according to UN Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.
"A key factor in the effort to restart the tourism industry is the consistency and harmony of protocols and rules related to international mobility" he said. "The integration of vaccination certificates in 'medical passports' can do this. They will help eliminate the need for quarantine on entry, a policy that is hampering the revival of the tourism industry."
According to Dakota Gruener, managing director of ID2020, a global public-private partner, the idea of integrating evidence suggests that a person tested negative for Covid-19 or had a vaccine in technical credentials. Number is the two most important factors bringing the tourism industry back to development.
Proving that you have been vaccinated for activities or entering a country is not a new concept. For decades, people coming to certain countries must prove they have been vaccinated against diseases like yellow fever, rubella and cholera.
Vaccine passports do not have to be digitized, but they will make travel smoother.
"Imagine in the future when one plane lands at an airport and one hundred people have a medical pass, other 100 people have e-wallets with medical information, 50 have an identification and other 25 people has some sort of government certification. What will the airport do? How do they handle all of these people's papers in the simplest and most standardized way? ", Jamie Smith, the sales manager of Evernym, a software development company that is working with IATA and several other units to develop vaccine cards, asked.
The European Union (EU) said last week that the trade of fake Covid-19 negative certificates is becoming more and more popular. This is another reason why the development of digital tokens becomes even more urgent.
However, the release of a digital medical certificate brings no less worries. In a world where more than a billion people cannot prove their identity because of a lack of passports, birth certificates, driver's licenses or ID cards, digital documents showing vaccine status are at risk. increasing inequality and risk, leaving many people behind.
"Long before Covid-19 came out, we were working on integrating immunization information into digital personal information," said Gruener from ID2020. "It will take many more years for the Covid-19 vaccine to become global, so extensive testing needs to be carried out in parallel with vaccinations to facilitate safe and fair return of movement and other public activities ".
For those without a smartphone, proof of vaccination is acceptable, but they also need to be standardized.
Besides, there are concerns about data privacy and sharing. Jenny Wanger, program development director of the Linux Foundation, emphasized the key is that medical record applications must be made in a public manner and not under the control of any government or company.
Technology should be open source and be accessible to every developer, no matter who or where they are, Wanger notes.
Digital medical passport is essential to make international travel easier
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