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What Should Be the Key Criteria of a Health Passport?

What Should Be the Key Criteria of a Health Passport
What Should Be the Key Criteria of a Health Passport

With so much debate going on with regards to the health passport, or vaccine passport, it may be time to unveil the strict set of specific criteria. But with many countries pinning their hopes on a vaccine passport as a return to normality, is it about establishing an essential set of criteria? Vaccine passports establish proof of vaccination, allowing individuals to enter certain countries and live a life closer to normality. But what are some of the key criteria that should form this all-important health passport?

The Level of Vaccination in the Passport Holder

In order to place greater confidence in the certification, we require more information about the efficacy of the vaccines. As there are many variants, it may prove essential for the passport holder to stipulate the variant level they have been inoculated against. In addition, we need to find out more about how long it is guaranteed. This will help to determine the frequency of the health passport renewal.

Verifiable Credentials

Many industry initiatives are developing their own credentials with their own standards, such as using QR codes to identify individuals with ease. In addition, many colleges are spearheading their own initiatives, such as Cornell, Duke, Rutgers and Brown universities, while the WHO (World Health Organization) has established a Smart Vaccination Certification working group to create a set of standards for certificates. However, this brings into play a multitude of technical challenges to jump over to reduce forgery and identity theft. Much like a real passport or driving license, there must be a greater level of scrutiny with regards to the credentials. As organizations are working to create a more diverse approach to the passport, which makes things easier for the holder, this opens up a can of worms.

“With so many players working on various solutions, it raises the question of standardization. Not only do we need to consider what constitutes immunity, but also several questions arise around implementation: who will verify that the information is correct, can you verify the identity of the holder, what organization(s) will provide overall governance, and will they be transportable between jurisdictions,” says BurstIQ CEO, Frank Ricotta. “It took more than 50 years to standardize the current passport system. If this is our path back to normal, we need to fast track this process without overlooking critical consequences. This foundational technology will not only enable access to vital services but also protect our rights as citizens and guard our liberties and privacy.”

Having Conditions of Use Accepted and Understood by the Holder

The holder of the passport must understand the utility of the passport. They must accept that, upon having the passport, there will be a strict set of conditions to keep them. This makes it essential to monitor the impacts on the overall efficacy of the passport. However, this approach must meet a variety of ethical and non-discrimination standards. This is where the issue becomes muddy. If the vaccine certification is linked to other types of data and is built for a variety of uses, this may prove difficult to monitor. If vaccine certification is linked to different types of data, it may be a significant infringement on people’s privacy. Therefore, it should have minimum data collection with clearly defined uses.

Meets the Accepted Benchmarks for COVID-19 Immunity

Passport holders need to be protected from the illness to carry out the activities demanded by the passports while also avoiding additional burdens on the health services. It also may need to stipulate that the individual cannot transmit COVID-19 to others. This may mean that to hold a passport, a person may need to satisfy four different goals. This includes the vaccination, but also has a viral antibody-positive test result and a negative viral antigen test result.

There can be a variety of key criteria for a health passport. However, the debate continues to rage on. The very notion of a health passport throws up a variety of moral and ethical dilemmas, such as the invasion of privacy, further compounded by the need to track individuals who have had a specific level of vaccine, not to mention the very real impact of its infringement on liberty. As we begin to learn more about the virus, the reality of a health passport may come sooner than we think.

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