Key things you need to know about digital health passports

If you’ve been following news on digital health religiously, you would have heard of digital health passports. In recent times, digital health passports have been taking off as technology companies and even governments around the world start developing them. This article answers the key questions that you may have so that you have to know about digital health passports to keep yourself up to date!

What is a digital health passport?

To begin with, let us explain to you what a digital health passport is. The word “health passport” or “health pass” applies to something certifying that a person is unlikely to contract or spread a disease, whether in paper or digital format.

In other words, a digital health passport is an app, or online certification, that displays a traveler’s COVID test result or vaccination record so as to ensure that he or she is free of COVID and can safely travel.

How exactly does it work?

A digital health passport’s premise is straightforward. Travellers will install an app to their device, connect it to their travel provider or upload their itinerary. Then, the app guides them through the required travel verifications.

Once certain requirements are fulfilled, such as passing a negative COVID-19 test at an accredited testing center and having the findings approved, the traveler will be given a QR code or other form of evidence that act as confirmations that they can safely fly and travel.

Why not use paper? It seems safer?

Strictly speaking, certificates could theoretically be printed or digital. That said, however, the majority of trials have concentrated on digital alternatives. When we rely on paper certificates, we run a risk of people falsifying documents. Paper documents are naturally easier to falsify as compared to digital ones.

Because digital passports are relatively new, most of them are still in the pilot phase. The way these passports protect privacy is being scrutinized like it is in every device that holds confidential data.

The bottom line: Does it mean we can travel again?

File:View from the airplane window.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

I’m pretty sure this is the question that is on everyone’s mind. With digital passports in place, can we travel again? A digital health passport could open up the travel industry to allow all of us to fly again. But some issues such as how to get people to accept the vaccine and vaccine inequality need to be addressed first.

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