Say Hello to the Vaccine Passport In 2021


With the arrival of vaccines in the market, people are already planning their next trips, dreaming about their dream destinations, making plans of partying with their friends and creating multiple mood-boards on Pinterest for their plans. However, one might need a ‘vaccine passport’ to make their travel dreams a reality. 

So, what is a vaccine passport? It is a passport that testifies whether a person has been vaccinated against Covid-19 or not. 

This passport is similar to the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis, also known as the Yellow Passport. The Yellow Passport is issued by the World Health Organization and the Vaccine Passport is reportedly going to be similar to this one. CNN reports the development of applications that register whether a person has tested negative for Covid-19 after getting vaccinated. This is to ensure whether the person is Covid-proof or not. The vaccine passport is not just limited to international travel but it will also be used as a pass while checking into stadiums, theatres, offices, concert venues, or other places which are spots of mass gatherings. 

The Commons Project, The World Economic Forum and a Geneva-based non-profit organization have come together to partner with multiple airlines such as Lufthansa, JetBlue and Cathay Pacific. It intends to implement the requirement for vaccine passports during check-ins and check-outs. Together, they create the ‘Common Trust Network’ to carry out the initiative of developing the app that can execute their vision. It strives to make information about health statuses (starting from test results to vaccination records) more available and verifiable. It also intends to help the government take a more flexible approach in assessing the health status of an individual. The app will allow vaccinated individuals to upload their medical data where they must show a negative Covid-19 test result with the confirmation of being vaccinated. Once an individual has recorded their medical history on the app, a QR code is generated. This code is required in order for people to get access to public places such as airports and clubs. However, this is likely to be implemented once the vaccine and the app become more widely available. 

Aside from the CommonPass app, IBM is developing the Digital Health Pass which has similar objectives but emphasizes upon the customization of Covid indicators that would allow people to enter sites of mass gatherings. The aforementioned indicators are temperature checks, vaccination records and Covid-19 tests. Unlike the CommonPass app, the Digital Health Pass has a drawback where it excludes people who are incapable of getting access to the vaccine in the near future. This is attested by civil liberties which state that this form of technology is often used as a proxy for discrimination, considering public health’s historical record of being discriminatory. 

Since, the vaccines have just rolled out, a significant majority of the population is presently not vaccinated. WHO has also ruled out the possibility of people developing anti-bodies after recovering from Covid-19, due to a lack of substantial evidence, since multiple people have gotten infected more than once. It has stated that it is not feasible for people to put their trust on these apps.