With more people now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, countries around the world are designing digital health certificates to prove a person’s immunization status. Paper verifications have proven to be less effective due to the rampant use of fake COVID-19 test results bought easily from various merchants. There is a great need for common standards for COVID-19 vaccine certificates.
In search of common standards for COVID-19 Vaccine Certificates: What Vaccine Certificates Do
The Yellow Card is one of the most popular vaccine certificates there is. The card contains information about the vaccine type, the date, and the location of the shot.
COVID-19 vaccine certificates are following the same system to prove that a person has received their vaccination against the coronavirus. Digital vaccine certificates have paved the way for citizens to access activities. These include attending concerts, something that would have been impossible without the COVID-19 vaccine.
Vaccine certificates have also been touted as the path towards reopening borders and international travel. But as countries around the world develop their vaccine certificates, issues arise, including which standards to use and privacy concerns.
The Need for Common Standards for COVID-19 Vaccine Certificates: Present Challenges
Privacy is a top concern for many people when it comes to vaccine certificates. Questions have arisen like how much personal and health information is disclosed on the vaccine certificate. Another issue is how digital vaccine certificates handle health information.
Further, a concern that has arisen with the development of COVID-19 vaccination certificates is the threat of alienating some groups based on their immunization status.
Another common problem is the enforcement of vaccine certificates across different regions. For instance, earlier this year, Iceland at first did not accept CDC vaccination cards. The same issue was prevalent with COVID-19 test certificates. In that case, countries had different requirements and reserved the right to reject some test certificates, even if they were valid.
Differences in the language used in these test results also raised confusion.
These problems give rise to the need for establishing common standards that allow key stakeholders to create a vaccine certificate that can be accepted in different parts of the world.
Questions have also arisen about the possibility of falsifying digital certificates, as was the case with COVID-19 results certificates.
How Common Standards Help
Standardizing vaccine certificates presents many benefits. The first benefit is eliminating some of the inequalities, such as the unavailability of the internet. A digital certificate that is accessible both online and offline serves the individual better than one that is strictly available online.
The person holding the certificate can present it to different businesses, or at the airport to travel or access certain services. Making these certificates digital and printable helps ensure that those without access to smartphones can still verify their vaccination status.
Another benefit that comes with standardization is the ability to use the vaccine certificate worldwide. Currently, travelers may need several applications to prove their vaccination status when traveling worldwide. Standardization would eliminate the need to download a myriad of applications for the same purpose.
As governments and companies work towards providing vaccine passports as proof for vaccination, the need for a standardized approach is becoming critical. These certificates should be acceptable not only in their country but outside the country to facilitate global travel. In addition, they should be compatible with other systems in different jurisdictions.