- Countries, airlines and others are looking for an easy-to-use method for people to show they have been vaccinated.
- Denmark announced it will have a digital “corona passport” ready in three or four months.
- U.S. government agencies also have been directed to explore digital vaccine certificates.
Your passport may soon include proof that you have received a COVID-19 vaccine or have tested negative for the new coronavirus.
And that proof may be in a digital format.
To help revive a travel industry decimated by the coronavirus pandemic, countries, airlines and other companies are looking for an easy-to-use method for people to show they have been vaccinated.
The government of Denmark announced Wednesday it is working with businesses to develop a digital “corona passport” that will be ready in three or four months, the Associated Press reported.
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“It is absolutely crucial for us to be able to restart Danish society so that companies can get back on track. Many Danish companies are global companies with the whole world as a market,” Finance Minister Morten Boedskov said at a news conference.
“It will be the extra passport that you will be able to have on your mobile phone that documents that you have been vaccinated,” Boedskov said. “We can be among the first in the world to have it and can show it to the rest of the world.”
In the U.S., the new Biden administration has asked government agencies to explore creating digital coronavirus vaccine certificates, the New York Times reported.
Airlines, industry groups, nonprofits and technology companies also are working on similar digital passes, the Times reported.
One example is the IBM Digital Health Pass. Its website says the digital pass “is designed to provide organizations with a smart way to bring people back to a physical location, such as a workplace, school, stadium or airline flight.” (IBM is the parent company of The Weather Channel.)
“Privacy is central to the solution, and the digital wallet can allow individuals to maintain control of their personal health information and share it in a way that is secured, verifiable, and trusted,” the website says.
Another example is called CommonPass. Its goal is to create “a trusted, globally interoperable platform for people to document their COVID-19 status (health declarations / PCR tests / vaccinations) to satisfy country entry requirements, while protecting their health data privacy,” according to its website.
“To restart travel in the pandemic era, we need an international health pass we can trust,” said Bradley Perkins, chief medical officer for the Commons Project, which is developing CommonPass.
With many countries already requiring travelers to prove they have tested negative for COVID-19, proof of vaccination may one day soon also be required.
“One key element vital for the restart of tourism is consistency and harmonization of rules and protocols regarding international travel,” Zurab Pololikashvili, secretary general of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, told the New York Times. “Evidence of vaccination, for example, through the coordinated introduction of what may be called ‘health passports’ can offer this. They can also eliminate the need for quarantine on arrival, a policy which is also standing in the way of the return of international tourism.”
While one app that works in any situation would be ideal, that’s unlikely to happen.
“If everyone builds out their own credential system, you’re not going to be able to naturally talk to one another,” Jenny Wanger, director of programs at Linux Foundation Public Health, told CNBC. “All of a sudden if you’re going to want to go to the movies versus to the office versus on a plane, you’re going to have to download three different apps, generate the credential three different ways, and get the paperwork done three different times.”
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