Thursday, August 18, 2022

Follow-up: Vaccine Passport

Following the rollout of several vaccines around the world, the once lost idea of traveling, going to the movies and concerts, and in-store shopping – is being currently revived with the development of a vaccine passport application.

Companies and technology groups already started developing systems and smartphone apps that permit users to upload their coronavirus test details and vaccination information.@

These features enable them to create digital credentials that can be used to enter large venues such as stadiums, movie theaters, concerts, offices, even borders.

Hand-in-hand with the World Economic Forum, the Geneva-based nonprofit, The Commons Project have partnered up with a range of airlines such as JetBlue, Cathay Pacific, Swiss Airlines, Lufthansa, United Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic in addition to hundred of health systems in the United States and government of Aruba, in a joint effort to make the vaccine passport a practical solution.

The group gave birth to the CommonPass app, which allows users to upload their medical data (Covid-19 test results, certified proof of vaccination) and the vaccine passport does its magic generating a health certificate or a ‘pass’ in the form of a QR code that can be shown to authorities without exposing any sensitive information.

When it comes to travel, the app will display health pass requirements at certain points of departure and arrival depending on your itinerary.

Large tech firms are riding this wave as well with IBM having developed its own app, dubbed the Digital Health Pass.

IBM’s solution offers companies and venues tailored indicators that are needed for entry including coronavirus tests, vaccination records, and temperature checks.

The nifty part of their solution is how the appropriate credentials corresponding to the needed indicators are practically stored in a mobile wallet.

While all this does seem sweet, its proving to be quite the hassle for developers. They now have to factor in other criteria such as privacy issues, and how to properly represent efficacy of different vaccines.

Now, while all this seems rather practical, we must stop for a moment to think about those who don’t use or have access to smartphones.

A handful of companies included in the Covid-19 Credentials Initative are working on a smart card that acts as a meet-me-halfway solution between traditional paper vaccine certificates and the online counterparts.

Creating a vaccine passport is half the challenge. The bigger issue later on will be addressing security concerns related to handling private medical information and making individuals feel comfortable using the app.