“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.”..George Orwell, 1984

It is hoped that the world will go back from the new normal to the old normal once the majority of the population is vaccinated. However the new normal will perhaps introduce us to a new digital identity – Vaccine Passport. A vaccine passport might become the new mandate for travel, work, school and more. Several countries have already shown their interest in producing vaccine passports in some digitized form.

QR coded Vaccine Pass

Vaccine beneficiaries in India will be given a vaccination certificate with unique QR (quick response) code as proof of their Covid-19 immunization. As per a new feature on Co-WIN(Covid-19 Vaccine Intelligence Network) , the unique QR code-based vaccination certificate can be saved on mobile phones. The certificate will act as a ‘vaccine passport’ for international travelers.

The Vaccination Credential Initiative (VCI)

The group called Vaccination Credential Initiative (VCI) is working to enable individuals vaccinated for COVID-19 to access their vaccination records in a secure, verifiable and privacy-preserving way. The coalition comprises a broad range of health care and tech leaders including Microsoft, Salesforce among others.

The CommonPass Initiative

The World Health Organization (WHO) in association with some tech companies is considering the use of technology in the COVID-19 response, and how it can work towards an e-vaccination certificate. The vaccine passport is not a paper document but rather an app that will carry your vaccination status. A digital pass, called “Common Pass,” is already being used by several airlines as proof of negative coronavirus results before travel.

CommonPass lets individuals access their lab results and vaccination records, and consent to have that information used to validate their COVID status.  CommonPass was developed by the Commons Project Foundation, a nonprofit public trust and the World Economic Forum.

Questions to be asked

  • Some people may chose not to be vaccinated because of their underlying health conditions, suspected side effects or because they prefer traditional medicines. Would these people be discriminated and treated as social outcasts? Will they still continue to enjoy the same rights as the people who have the vaccine passes?
  • Digital health passports may or may not contribute to the long-term management of the COVID-19 pandemic however they pose serious questions on data privacy. One’s health record and history may no longer remain private.
  • Most important question to ask is if the Covid vaccines would stop people from carrying or transmitting the virus?
  • Updated on 9th June 2021:
    • Will the so called passport issued in one country/issued by one authority be valid globally? Read this: https://twitter.com/fgautier26/status/1402546628012040192?s=20

Pandemic Prevention Measure or Digital-Dictatorship? You decide.

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