The Vaccination Credential Initiative (VCI) recently announced a new venture aimed to help people obtain encrypted digital copies of their COVID-19 immunisation records stored in a digital wallet.
A Digital COVID-19 vaccination passport, if you will. Some of the biggest tech leaders in the industry – such as Microsoft, Salesforce, and Oracle – are reportedly spearheading the initiative
DIGITAL COVID-19 VACCINATION PASSPORT
DIGITAL COPIES OF IMMUNISATION RECORDS
The group said on its website that the goal would be for people to get encrypted digital copies of their immunisation records. It would serve as a way to help society return to what life was like before the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the long run, this would prevent “others from making false claims”, according to The Daily Mail. The initiative has, however, raised concerns about privacy issues and how such information could be accessed.
The Commons Project explained that the goal is “to empower individuals with digital access to their vaccination records so they can […] safely return to travel, work, school, and life while protecting their data privacy”.
Health and tech leaders such as Microsoft and Mayo Clinic are developing digital COVID-19 vaccination passports. However, privacy groups say they are ‘unfair’ until jabs are more widely distributed. As per Privacy International:
“To what degree does this documentation need to be trusted to be reviewed by other providers? And who else will want access? That is where things get more complicated. And that’s where ambitions lie”.
VCI countered by saying the “open standards and inter-operability are at the heart” of their efforts. The group would work closely with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and global stakeholders.
Together, the coalition would “implement and scale open global standards for health data interoperability”. The group predicts that airlines, stadiums, workplaces and the like may soon require proof of immunisation.
VITAL FOR TRAVELLING
A digital vaccination passport would be the easiest and most efficient answer to that problem, with Salesforce explaining a single platform to deliver safe and continuous operations would “deepen trust”.
“This coalition will be crucial to support public health and wellbeing”.Salesforce
Salesforce predicts that digital passports would soon be vital to anyone needing to travel, and adds that showing proof of immunisation would eventually be “as easy as online banking”.
SIMILAR TO COVID-19 VACCINATION CARD
The system would also cater to individuals who don’t have smartphones, by ensuring they receive a printed document containing a QR code to access their immunisation credentials.
In essence, this would be similar to the vaccination card issued to American citizens after receiving vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, which have been authorized for emergency use.
WHO had been looking into e-certificates for COVID-19 vaccination in Britain since March 2020. WHO Europe expert Siddhartha Datta said at the time:
“We are looking very closely into the use of technology in this COVID-19 response and one of them is how can we work with members states towards something called an e-vaccination certificate”.