December 14, New York: As the United States (US) gears up to start with the vaccination process, technology has forayed into it. Among all the tools that global health agencies have developed over time, paper vaccination certificates have always been constant. But, as technology disrupts the way the world functions, health authorities, and organizations are all set to resort to tech in terms of virus vaccination, through a unique document titled—digital health credential.
CommonPass app- A new Beginning
In the ensuing weeks, major US airlines JetBlue, United and Lufthansa, plan to launch a health passport app named CommonPass that is targeted at verifying passengers’ test results for the coronavirus and soon vaccination. Following which the app will issue confirmation codes eventually enabling travelers to board certain international flights. The effort is just the beginning of the push towards digital credentials for coronavirus that will soon be adopted by entertainment venues, camps, and even educational institutes, especially schools.
The app has been developed by the Commons Project Foundation, a Geneva-based non-profit organization. Sharing his views on the development and eventual implementation of the app, Doctor Brad Perkins, chief medical officer at the non-profit said that this is most likely a new normal need that we all need to get accustomed to, sooner or later to curb the pandemic.
Advent of a New Vaccination Process?
In a world that is becoming increasingly tech-driven, the advent of electronic vaccine credentials can have a profound impact on efforts to curb the virus and eventually helping the economy bounce back. Chances are that they can propel more employers including those across the social infrastructure to reopen and gradually resume services. Some consumers are also of the opinion that such electronic credentials can ensure peace of mind for some consumers by creating an easy way for sports arenas, movie theaters, and cruise. However, it will be mandatory for all to carry documented proof of coronavirus vaccination.
However, the unique electronic credential or simply the app is not without its challenges. It has already irked a specter of a society divided into two—the haves and the have-nots, especially if the venues require the apps as entry tickets. Chances are high that the app could make things difficult for people who have limited access to either the coronavirus vaccine or online verification tools that can help them perform their daily tasks or even visit certain popular destinations.
According to the Civil Liberties…
Civil liberties experts also express their concern in terms of disparity that the process can end up creating within American society. They warn that the technology can end up generating an invasive pattern of social control, somewhat similar to the intensified surveillance adapted by China during the peak of the global pandemic. Sharing his views on the same, a professor of law at the University of California Irvine said that protecting public health has historically been used as a proxy and the current efforts pertaining to the pandemic, are a reflection of the same.
On the other hand, tech companies and non-profit organizations engaged in developing corona health pass apps say that their motive is the overall wellbeing of humankind and hence they aim at creating credentials (electronic in this case) as reliable as WHO’s paper cards. And they argue that modern smartphone apps, which people may use to track their virus-related vaccine test results are way more reliable than the previous paper documents. At least electronic documents (apps in this case) cannot be forged.
Despite such contrasting opinions, the CommonPass app has gained much popularity among the general public. Now, what lies ahead of the vaccination process, depends upon a series of factors and events that will gradually unfold and probably decide the fate of the electronic credential. Till that happens, let’s wait and watch.