It’s possible you’ll want a COVID vaccination certificates to journey to CBS St John in 2021
MIAMI (CBSSt John / CNN) – In order for people to travel in 2021, they may need a COVID vaccination certificate.
Several companies and technology groups have begun developing smartphone apps or systems that individuals can use to upload details about their COVID-19 tests and vaccinations. This creates digital login information that can be displayed to enter concert venues, stadiums, cinemas, offices or even countries.
The Common Trust Network, an initiative of the Geneva-based nonprofit The Commons Project and the World Economic Forum, has worked with multiple airlines including Cathay Pacific, JetBlue, Lufthansa, Swiss Airlines, United Airlines and Virgin Atlantic, as well as hundreds of healthcare systems in the United States and the Government of Aruba.
With the CommonPass app created by the group, users can upload medical data such as a COVID-19 test result or ultimately a vaccination certificate from a hospital or doctor, create a health certificate or pass it on in the form of a QR code, which can be shown to the authorities without reveal sensitive information. For travel, the app lists the health passport requirements at the departure and arrival locations based on your itinerary.
“You can be tested every time you cross a limit. You can’t get vaccinated every time you cross a line, “Thomas Crampton, The Commons Project’s director of marketing and communications, told CNN Business. He stressed the need for a simple and easily transferable ID or “digital yellow card” referring to the paper document commonly issued as proof of vaccination.
Large technology companies are also participating. IBM has developed its own app called the Digital Health Pass, which allows companies and venues to customize indicators required for entry, including coronavirus tests, temperature checks, and vaccination logs. Credentials that match these indicators are then stored in a mobile wallet.
To address a challenge in returning to normal following the spread of vaccines, developers may have to face other challenges, ranging from privacy issues to depicting the different effectiveness of different vaccines. The most pressing challenge, however, could be avoiding the incoherent implementation and mixed success of tech’s previous attempt to tackle the public health crisis: contact tracking apps.
At the beginning of the pandemic, Apple and Google abandoned their smartphone rivalry to jointly develop a Bluetooth-based system that would allow users to be notified if they were exposed to someone with COVID-19. Many countries and state governments around the world have also developed and used their own apps.
“I think where exposure notification encountered some challenges was more of the incremental implementation decisions, the lack of federal leadership … where each state had to do it on its own and each state had to figure it out independently,” said Jenny Wanger, who runs the exposure notification initiatives for Linux Foundation Public Health, a tech-driven organization that helps health authorities around the world fight 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 dozen of organizations on five continents, and is also working with IBM and CommonPass to help bring the Develop a set of universal standards to support vaccine credentials apps.
“If we’re successful, you should be able to say, I have a vaccine certificate on my phone that I received when I was vaccinated in a country with a whole bunch of proprietary health management practices … that I use to get on a plane in one completely different country, and then I presented proof of vaccination in that new country so I could go to the concert that was held indoors, for which attendance was limited to those who demonstrated they had the vaccine, ” Said Brian Behlendorf, executive director of the Linux Foundation.
“It should be just as interoperable as email, just as the web is interoperable,” he said. “Right now we’re in a situation where there are some moving parts that bring us closer to that, but I think there’s a sincere commitment from everyone in the industry.”
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Part of ensuring widespread use of vaccination records is to address the large subset of the world’s population who still do not use or have access to smartphones. Some COVID-19 Credentials Initiative companies are also developing a smart card that strikes a middle ground between traditional paper vaccine certificates and an online version that is easier to store and reproduce.
“For us it is [about] How these digital credentials can be stored can be shown not only via smartphones, but also in other ways for people who do not have access to a stable Internet and also do not have smartphones, ”said Lucy Yang, Co-Head of COVID-19 Credentials Initiative. “We are looking into this, and there are companies that are doing really promising work.
Once they have a vaccination record, companies need to make sure people are familiar with it. This means addressing concerns about the handling of private medical information.
CommonPass, IBM and the Linux Foundation have all highlighted data protection as a central element of their initiatives. According to IBM, users can control and consent to the use of their health data and choose the level of detail they want to make available to authorities.
“Trust and transparency remain of the utmost importance when developing a platform such as a digital health passport or a solution that processes sensitive personal information,” the company said in a blog post. “Privacy is paramount when managing and analyzing data in response to these complex times.”
For vaccines manufactured by multiple companies in multiple countries at different stages of development, passport manufacturers have to consider many variables.
“An entry point – whether that’s a limit, whether this is a venue – will want to know, did you get the Pfizer vaccine, did you get the Russian vaccine, did you get the Chinese vaccine so that you can make a decision accordingly” said Crampton. The variance can be great: The vaccine developed by the Chinese state-owned pharmaceutical company Sinopharm, for example, has an effectiveness of 86% against COVID-19, while the vaccines manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna each have an effectiveness of around 95%.
It’s also unclear how effective the vaccines are in stopping the virus from being transmitted, says Dr. Julie Parsonnet, an infectious disease specialist at Stanford University. While a vaccination record app will indicate that you received the shot, it may not be a guarantee that you will safely attend an event or board a flight.
“We still don’t know whether or not vaccinated people can transmit infections,” she told CNN Business. “Until this is clarified, we will not know whether ‘passports’ will be effective.”
However, Behlendorf expects vaccination records to be rolled out and rolled out fairly quickly once everything is in order, and expects a variety of apps that can work together to be “generally available” in the first half of 2021 will.
“Rest assured, the nerds are on it,” he said.
(© 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner company, contributed to this report.)