Are you ready to move forward to the ‘new normal’?
With COVID-19 vaccines being rolled out universally, global economies are racing to return lives to normal. Though, at the current pace, it will take us years to fully immunize the human population against the COVID-19 virus. A sense of normalcy has started to seep into our lives – schools have resumed, global travel is operational, people are commuting to their offices, while small gatherings have become common.
However, a majority of airlines, governments, businesses, and schools are still considering how, and what will it take, to safely resume in-person operations. Due to the long-term reality of living within a pandemic, both public and private sectors are speeding ahead to create a source of recordkeeping for verifying an individual’s COVID-19 immunity.
A vaccine passport is essentially a vaccine verification app that will carry your health information -primarily your coronavirus vaccination status. Most likely to become a prerequisite soon, a vaccine passport will be used for traveling internationally, participating in marathons, attending concerts, or for even visiting a movie theatre.
A solution of this nature allows people access to a secure, digital record of their COVID-19 vaccine – that can be stored on their smartphone. The entertainment and travel sectors, which have struggled to operate profitably while imposing social distancing regulations, are particularly interested in a method that can swiftly check who is or isn’t immunized. To add to this, according to a new survey conducted in the United States, roughly 76% of travelers aged between 45 and 54 years claimed to support vaccination passports. Meanwhile, approximately 41% of respondents aged 16 to 24 supported them.
In an effort for reviving travel and for keeping infection risks under control, tech companies are now harnessing blockchain technology as a solution against counterfeit vaccine certificates. A distributed ledger technology, blockchain allows no personal data to be stored or shared publicly, instead just cryptographic proof that a person has been vaccinated is stored within the virtual ledger.
The overall idea is that you will be able to carry a QR code on your phone, most likely within a digital app, that can be scanned by venues or airlines, giving you the authentication to enter. The code should only contain pertinent information — in most scenarios, just a confirmation that you have been vaccinated with an approved vaccine within the appropriate time frame.
With global economies moving forward to the new normal, South Korea has now developed a vaccine passport ‘Green Pass’ – an app that will enable those who have been vaccinated to return to their pre-pandemic lifestyle. Not just South Korea, but countries, such as Israel, China & the European Union have also implemented or have begun to build their digital vaccine passport for enabling global travel.
After coming to a standstill during the pandemic, travel is likely to make a major comeback in 2021, once the COVID-19 vaccine becomes widely distributed. The International Air Transport Association, an airline trade association that represents 290 airlines globally, is currently in the final stages of creating a digital COVID-19 vaccine passport for travelers. Labeled as the IATA Travel Pass, the digital health document will offer travelers a method to get a certification of things like their vaccination status and COVID-19 test results from medical facilities. This critical information can then be shared with border authorities or airlines.
Given that health is a top priority, digital vaccine passports are likely to become a requirement for travel, both domestic and international. A variety of factors make digital vaccine passports essential for air travel – these factors include passengers breathing in circulated air, the proximity of passengers, etc.
The state of New York has developed a health passport app to restore normal life, enabling people to upload vaccine cards or negative test results to access venues and events. Developed by IBM, New York’s ‘Excelsior Pass’ is a simple digital app that can be accessed on mobile devices. This vaccine passport app holds a handful of items: your birth date, your name, a QR code, a green checkmark, and when the time passport expires. A measure for reducing risk in social gatherings, such an app can prove to be instrumental in containing the spread of the virus.
A channel for paving the pathway to more mainstream options, IBM’s Digital Health Pass is designed to provide organizations with a sensible way to bring people back to a physical location, such as an airline flight, school, stadium, or workplace. Built on IBM’s blockchain technology, the health passport app is created to enable organizations to verify health credentials for visitors, customers, and employees.
Similarly, the ‘Common Pass’ health app enables users to document and share their vaccination history and COVID-19 testing status. The app verifies that an individual’s vaccination records or lab test results come from a trusted source. This digital vaccine passport is a collaboration between the Commons Project Foundation, a nonprofit public trust, and The World Economic Forum, an international organization for public-private cooperation.
In the past, tech companies have not always been the most responsible with user information, which is why developers have to work hard to overcome an established trust void. Ultimately, user trust is critical for ensuring a digital vaccine passport’s use and success. This is why companies must be transparent about their privacy policies so that users can make an informed decision.
At each stage, the pandemic has exposed inequities and disparities in our society, and vaccine passports may, unfortunately, perpetuate these problems. The opening up of economies after months of restrictions is well-received. However, there are concerns that benefits will be not distributed equally – leading certain groups to be disadvantaged.
Establishing a two-tier society, a vaccine passport may only allow some people to access employment, leisure opportunities, while others might continue to bear the brunt of global inequities. This form of a digital vaccine passport could further discriminate between people if apps exclude individuals who don’t own a smartphone. That said, faster, wider vaccination campaigns across social groups can ensure a whole community gains immunity – speeding up return to normal life.
To return to pre-pandemic levels of travel, individuals need a verifiable method to document their health information as they begin to travel globally. With lockdowns ending, a health passport app has now become a need of the hour. An on-demand mobile app development agency, Mobinspire can build custom on-demand apps that are aligned with your requirements. Based in California, we have been developing, testing, deploying, and maintaining mobile applications for over a decade now.
We are known for overcoming technical challenges, spearheading innovative initiatives, and eliminating organizational inefficiencies. Harnessing a comprehensive methodology, we hope to bridge the gap between our clients and their goals. Known for our experience, expertise, and technical proficiency, our team is well-versed with building apps. So, if you wish to build a digital vaccine passport, get in touch with us.