Everything You Need to Know About Vaccine Passports

Most of us have not heard of a Vaccine Passport before COVID, and 2020. As the vaccine rolls out and we start to move forward with our lives, a vaccine passport may be a simple but effective way to allow us to travel across borders, attend events, fly, go on a cruise, or whatever you might be planning for 2021 and beyond.

You might be wondering, what is a vaccine passport? It is a smartphone app that allows you to upload your health information, such as your vaccine data or test results, and provide it to others (potentially airlines, movie theaters, concerts, other countries, etc.) to show you have received the COVID vaccine.

Several tech companies are developing the apps or other systems for people to use. Doing a search on my smart phone, I found there were two already available.

Everything You Need to Know About Vaccine Passports 1

According to a CNN article, there are many others in development. Check them out here:

https://www.ibm.com/products/digital-health-pass

https://commonpass.org

https://www.apple.com/healthcare/health-records

On the website https://www.covidcreds.com, you can learn more about the COVID-19 credentials initiative, (CCI).

What is CCI?

The COVID-19 Credentials Initiative (CCI) is an open global community looking to deploy and/or help deploy privacy-preserving verifiable credential projects in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and strengthen our societies and economies.
We come together through CCI to share our experience, learning, and expertise, and help each other successfully launch COVID-19 verifiable credential projects in local communities. CCI provides the resources and forums for effective conversations and meaningful collaboration. 

We joined Linux Foundation Public Health (LFPH) in December 2020 to work together on advancing the use of Verifiable Credentials and data and technical interoperability of Verifiable Credentials in the public health realm, starting with vaccine credentials for COVID-19.

What is a Verifiable Credential?

Much like a physical credential (e.g. the cards in one’s wallet), a Verifiable Credential is an issued assertion containing a set of claims about an individual or organization. The unique value of VCs is that they are digitally native and cryptographically secure, making them a great privacy-preserving alternative to other types of credentials, if used responsibly.

As shown in the illustration, after accepting a VC (e.g. a driver’s license) from a trusted issuer (e.g. a government body), holders can generate a proof with minimum information (e.g. over 18) needed to prove to a verifier (e.g. a liquor store) that they possess VCs with specific characteristics (e.g. age), qualifying them for certain types of access defined by the verifier. And there is no need for direct contact between the issuer and verifier throughout the process. This opens doors to a wide range of solutions to the social and economic challenges incurred as a result of COVID-19.

Some Concerns include privacy issues as well as alternatives for those who do not have a smartphone.

Other counties, such as Israel, are ahead of the curve.

Israeli health officials said those who test negative for the virus could receive a temporary green passport for 72 hours, while passports granted to those who have been vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 will be valid for six months.

In a presentation to lawmakers, the Israeli Health Ministry said the passport is meant to encourage vaccination and allow for reopening sectors of the economy closed by the government’s restrictions.

The ministry said green passports could be used to enable access to cultural and sporting events, conferences, museums and other types of mass gatherings. It added they would likely be used at restaurants and cafes, malls, hotels, gyms and swimming pools, but would not be required for schools, workplaces, public transportation, houses of worship and street-front stores. The passports can be used via a smartphone application or interactive voice recognition or be printed out as a physical document.

Regardless of your stance on vaccines, it looks like in order to participate in mass gatherings or travel, in the not to distant future you may be required to show proof of being vaccinated.

Ms. Jenn Landers | Patient Advocate Alliance LLC
Edited by Dr. Justin Groode 

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