As different countries like the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia now begin administering COVID vaccines from various companies, the hope of opening the world by 2021 is getting stronger days before 2020 ends. However, going back to normal before pandemic struck the world may require people to apply for a coronavirus vaccine passport.
Numerous technology companies and groups have begun developing systems where individuals can create digital credentials and upload details about their Covid-19 vaccinations and tests. These data in forms of smartphone apps will be shown before entering different offices, public facilities like movie theaters, stadiums, concert venues, or even travelling abroad.
What is COVID vaccine passport?
Basically, people who already received a coronavirus vaccine will be issued a COVID vaccine passport to allow them move more freely by giving them access to more indoor restaurants, movie theaters, other public facilities, and even travel abroad.
While Health reported in early December that the idea is still a speculation, the International Air Transport Association with 290 airline members across the glove announced said on Nov. 23 that the digital vaccine passport it is developing is already in the final stages. The IATA Travel Pass is a contactless passport app in which travelers can easily share their COVID-19 test results and vaccination status with border authorities and airlines.
COVID vaccine passport: How to get it
A Geneva-based nonprofit organization, The Commons Project and the World Economic Forum, has worked with various health systems in the United States and Aruba as well as with different airlines including Virgin Atlantic, JetBlue, Lufthansa, Cathay Pacific, Swiss Airlines, and United Airlines to create a COVID vaccine digital passport.
"You can be tested every time you cross a border. You cannot be vaccinated every time you cross a border," The Commons Project chief marketing and communications officer Thomas Crampton told CNN Business. Crampton noted that a "digital yellow card," which refers to the document being issued after getting a vaccine, is needed for easy transfer of credentials.
The CommonPass app will allow users to upload their medical details such as a Covid-19 test result or proof of vaccination from a medical professional or hospital. The app will then generate a QR code, which will serve as health pass that can be easily shown to authorities without revealing vital sensitive personal details.
The app will soon be available for download in Google Play Store and Apple App Store. This would be beneficial for traveling as health certificate is required at both departure and arrival travel points based on the itinerary.
Meanwhile, tech giant IBM also developed its own vaccine passport app called Digital Health Pass, which allows venues and companies to customize their requirements for entry such as temperature checks, COVID tests results, and vaccination records. These credentials are stored in a mobile wallet.
Also, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) develops the AOKpass, which according to Health, was a scalable solution to allow governments and border authorities to reopen efficiently and enable safe cross border travel.
However, as various vaccines have different efficacy levels: Sinopharm with 86% while Moderna and Pfizer are at around 95%, experts are taking the idea of a COVID vaccine digital passport with a grain of salt.
"We still don't know if vaccinated people can transmit infection or not," Stanford University infectious disease specialist Dr. Julie Parsonnet told CNN Business. She added that while the vaccine passport app is a proof for getting vaccinated, it may not guarantee that people will be safe travelling or attending an event.
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Written by CJ Robles