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Explainer: How would a vaccine passport work for global travel


London – Boarding Pass, Suitcase, Passport and … Digital Immunization Certificate?

They are working on a system that will allow travelers to use the mobile phone app to prove that they have been vaccinated, which can help them avoid quarantine requirements at their destination.

But several efforts underscore the lack of a central international system to electronically verify vaccination status. Projects also face technical challenges in working together, while questions about privacy and vaccine inequality remain.

Here’s how the vaccine passport works:

Official effort

The first part of the vaccination passport is the user’s official or approved electronic vaccination record.

The European Union, China and Japan are all working on their own digital vaccination certificates for cross-border travel. Meanwhile, the UK updated its National Healthcare app last week to allow fully vaccinated users to prove their status when traveling abroad, with loosening of travel regulations.

Trials are underway for the EU’s digital certificate, which will confirm the COVID-19 test results or recovery from the virus and is set to go live by the end of June, giving residents friends and relatives living in 30 European countries Allows to reconnect with. It is still unclear where and how travelers in the EU actually do not have internal border posts, their certificates will be checked. Officials in Brussels say it will depend on individual countries. The idea is that passengers will flash a QR code on their phones, so that it can be scanned at an airport or train station, using the official verification app that checks through the EU’s technical “gateway” with the national database Could.

Travel apps

Travelers also need a smartphone app to carry any official vaccination certificate.

The EU project includes open source technology that European countries can use to create their own official mobile wallets.

Travelers can already use the apps to verify that their COVID-19 test results are accepted at their destination. Travel Passes and Common Passes have so far only been available to passengers of airlines who are using them. Both can also be integrated into the airline travel app so that users can verify their vaccine status when checking in online. Both are also expected to work with EU certifications. CommonPass says users will be able to import vaccine credentials by mid-June.

In the midst of an epidemic-retarded travel approach, vaccine passports will only become more widespread, said Paul Mayer, CEO of The Commons Project, the nonprofit behind CommonPass. “It is our expectation that this will continue to be a requirement for international travel.”

What travelers want

Business travelers such as British public relations executive Richard Fogg welcome vaccine passports. Fogg’s firm plans to attend a major telecom trade show in Barcelona next month, quarantine rules given for those returning to the UK

Accepting the tradeoff, including concerns about data privacy, Fogg said, “Those 10 days of quarantine will have negative business effects – there’s no way around it.”

CEO of Geneva-based private jet broker Lunazets, Iameric Segaard, said passengers already hand over passports with personal data upon arrival.

“Personally, you know, I’d be happy to tell someone, yes, whether I’ve been vaccinated or not, I haven’t been vaccinated,” he said, adding the vaccine passport was one of the many COVID-19 tests. Will help avoid “logistic nightmares”. Face when visiting other EU countries.

What about fake?

Counterfeit paper sold by counterfeiters has been a problem during the COVID-19 document epidemic, but developers say digital versions have security measures that make them difficult to counterfeit.

IATA says it does not verify test results or vaccination status, but does work for registered labs to safely send those details to passengers whose identities the app can match with the person who Was tested or vaccinated. The app scans a passenger’s face using a phone camera and matches passport biometric details, and there are checks to prevent anyone else from using their identity.

security and privacy

Vaccine passports are a polarizing topic, with online discussion exposing unfounded fears that they will be used to control people, restrict liberty, and destroy privacy. Developers insist that minimal personal data is kept on the phone, and the only thing that is transmitted is the encryption keys that allow information to be safely exchanged.

“If done properly, it doesn’t bring an extra level of privacy risk because you’re just putting a credential status of yes or no,” said Kevin Trilli, chief product officer at ID verification company Onfido, who vaccinated. Is working on card technology.

There is also the question of how well the different vaccine credential systems will work together and whether countries will recognize each other’s certifications. The UK government has warned that currently many countries do not accept evidence of vaccination from travelers.

“You may not have an interoperable system on zero day,” Trilly said, but over time the kink will be worked on, which helps lay the groundwork for the next pandemic.

What about those people who do not have a smartphone? Or families that do not have equipment for each member? IATA and EU officials say they are working on solutions including paper-based alternatives.

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For all technical coverage of AP, https://apnews.com/apf-technology. go to

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Follow Calvin Chan at www.twitter.com/chanman

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