If you want to travel next year, you may need a vaccine passport

Various enterprises and technology groups have begun developing smartphone apps or systems for individuals to upload details of their Covid-19 tests and vaccinations, creating digital referents that can be displayed to enter concert venues, stadiums, cinemas, offices or even countries. .

The Common Trust Network, an initiative of Geneva-based nonprofit The Commons Project and the World Economic Forum, has partnered with several airlines, including Cathay Pacific, JetBlue, Lufthansa, Swiss Airlines, United Airlines and Virgin Atlantic, as well as hundreds of healthcare systems . across the United States and the government of Aruba.
The CommonPass app created by the group allows users to upload medical data such as a Covid-19 test result, or ultimately proof of vaccination by a hospital or medical professional, compiling a health certificate or passing in the form of a QR code that can be shown to authorities without disclosing sensitive information. For your trip, the requirements for the health care fit at the departure and arrival points are based on your itinerary.
“You can be tested every time you cross a border. You can not be vaccinated every time you cross a border,” Thomas Crampton, head of marketing and communications at The Commons Project, told CNN Business . He stresses the need for a simple and easily transferable set of credentials, or a ‘digital yellow card’, with reference to the paper document usually issued as proof of vaccination.
Large technology companies are also operating. IBM (IBM) has developed its own app, called Digital Health Pass, which allows businesses and locales to customize indicators they need for access, including coronavirus tests, temperature checks and vaccination records. Evidence corresponding to the indicators is then stored in a mobile wallet.
IBM's Digital Health Pass app creates an online vaccine reference that can be stored in a mobile wallet.

In an effort to address one challenge around returning to normalcy after vaccine distribution, developers may now have to face other challenges, ranging from privacy issues to the differing efficiencies of different vaccines. But perhaps the most urgent challenge is to avoid the disconnected implementation and mixed success of tech’s previous attempt to address the public health crisis: contact detection apps.

Early in the pandemic, appeal (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) set aside their smartphone competition to develop a Bluetooth-based system to notify users if they have been exposed to someone with Covid-19. Many countries and state governments around the world have also developed and used their own applications.
“I think where the exposure notice had some challenges were more the pieces of implementation choices, the lack of federal leadership … where each state had to go it alone and so each state had to invent it independently,” Jenny Wanger said leading the initiatives for exposure notice for Linux Foundation Public Health, a technology-focused organization that helps public health authorities around the world combat Covid-19.
To encourage better coordination this time around, The Linux Foundation has partnered with the Covid-19 Credentials Initiative, a collective of more than 300 people representing dozens of organizations across five continents. and also works with IBM and CommonPass to help develop a set of universal standards for vaccination programs for vaccines.

‘If we’re successful, you can say: I have a vaccination certificate on my phone that I got when I was vaccinated in one country, with a whole range of my own health management practices … that I used got on a plane to a completely different country and then I offered a vaccination certificate in the new country so I could go to the concert that takes place indoors, and attendance was limited to those who showed that they had the vaccine has, “says Brian Behlendorf, executive director of Linux Foundation.

“It should be interoperable in the same way that email is interoperable, in the same way that the internet is interoperable, “he said. At the moment we are in a situation where there are moving parts that bring us closer to it, but I think there is a sincere commitment from everyone in the industry. ‘

The majority of the world population that still does not use smartphones or have access is to secure the bulk of the vaccine passports. A few companies in the Covid-19 Credentials Initiative are also developing a smart card that strikes a middle ground between traditional paper vaccination certificates and an online version that is easier to store and reproduce.

‘For us it is [about] how the digital credentials can be stored, not only via smartphones but also in other ways for people who do not have access to stable internet and also do not have smartphones, “said co-leader Lucy Yang of the Covid-19 Credentials Initiative. “We’re researching it, and there are companies doing a lot of promising work.

CommonPass has partnered with several airlines to launch its health proof app on select international flights.

Once they set up a vaccine passport, they need to make sure that people are comfortable using it. This means that you face the concern of handling private medical information.

CommonPass, IBM and the Linux Foundation have highlighted privacy as the most important in their initiatives. IBM says it enables users to control and allow the use of their health data and enables them to choose the level of detail they want to provide to authorities.

“Trust and transparency remain paramount in developing a platform such as a digital health passport, or any solution that handles sensitive personal information,” the company said in a blog post. “Prioritizing privacy is a top priority for managing and analyzing data following these complex times.”

With vaccines being manufactured by different companies in different countries in different stages of development, there are many variables that passport makers need to take into account.

“An entry point – whether it’s a border, whether it’s a place – would want to know, did you get the Pfizer vaccine, did you get the Russian vaccine, did you get the Chinese vaccine, so they ‘ a decision can be made? accordingly, “Crampton said. The variance can be large: the vaccine developed by Chinese pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm, for example, has an efficacy of 86% against Covid-19, while the vaccines developed by Pfizer and Modern are manufactured, each having an efficiency of about 95%.

It is also unclear how effective the vaccines are in stopping the transmission of the virus, says Dr. Julie Parsonnet, a specialist in infectious diseases at Stanford University. While a vaccination passport app will show you the chance, it may not be a guarantee that you will attend an event safely or on the run.

“We still do not know if vaccinated people can transmit infection or not,” she told CNN Business. “Until that is clear, we will not know if ‘passports’ will be effective.”

However, Behlendorf still anticipates that the roll-out and acceptance of vaccine passports will take place fairly quickly once everything falls into place and expects a variety of programs that can work together within the first half of 2021 to be ‘widely available’.

“Rest assured, the nerds are on it,” he said.