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Vaccine Passports: What You Need to Know After Your COVID-19 Shot

April 16, 2021

You’ve likely heard that companies are now developing vaccine passports—also called immunity passports or vaccine certificates—to verify a person’s COVID-19 vaccination status, latest test result, or antibody test result. So you may soon be asked to scan a QR code on your smartphone to attend sporting events or concerts, cross borders, fly commercial airlines, and even enter a restaurant or your office building.

MIT Technology Review: “Got your covid shots? You might have to prove it.”

April 9, 2021

As covid vaccines roll out in a handful of countries, the next question has become: How do people prove they’ve been inoculated? For months, this conversation—and the ethical questions any “vaccine passport” system would raise—has been theoretical, but over the last few weeks, efforts have become more concrete. Australian airline Qantas started running a trial in March, while New York launched the first state-level system in the US last week. And on April 5, the UK said it would conduct a pilot as part of its gradual easing of lockdown restrictions. The moves have prompted various reactions: some states in the US have endorsed the concpt; others have banned it. 

NBC: “The next vaccine challenge: Building a workable ‘passport’ app”

March 31, 2021

The Biden administration said this week that it won’t build a national vaccination app, leaving it to the private sector to create mobile digital passports that can prove people have been vaccinated for Covid-19.

WNYC: “What to Know About New York’s ‘Vaccine Passport'”

March 30, 2021

New York recently launched a vaccine passport called the “Excelsior Pass.” Brian Behlendorf, general manager of Blockchain Healthcare and Identity at the Linux Foundation of Public Health, talks about what it is, and how people in the open source community are advocating for systems like these to be linked, so people don’t need multiple apps. Then, Albert Fox Cahn, founder and executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (STOP) at the Urban Justice Center, a New York–based civil rights and privacy group, and a fellow at the Engelberg Center for Innovation Law & Policy at NYU School of Law shares concerns about privacy and the digital divide.

USA Today: “New York launches nation’s first ‘vaccine passports.’ Others are working on similar ideas, but many details must be worked out”

March 29, 2021

Starting Friday, New Yorkers will be able to pull up a code on their cellphone or a printout to prove they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19 or recently tested negative for the virus that causes it.

CNN: “Biden administration helping develop standards to prove vaccination”

March 29, 2021

The Biden administration is working on creating a set of standards for people to prove they’ve been vaccinated against Covid-19, according to an administration official.

Bloomberg: “Building a Covid Travel Passport Is a Serious Tech Challenge”

March 24, 2021

When Philippe Srour and his wife, Laurence, took an Air France flight to Paris from San Francisco in mid-March, they were given a novel opportunity to escape some of the madness of pandemic-era travel. In exchange for the promise of less hassle at border and security checks, the couple agreed to use a mobile app to display their Covid-19 test results. The trial wasn’t a total success.

Forbes: “Can Verifiable Credentials Be The Key To Safely Reopening The Economy?”

February 19, 2021

As of February 18, the global coronavirus cases stood at 110.2 million, with a death toll of 2.42 million. With public health authorities and governments endeavouring to get ahead of the virus, the urgency is now focused on effective and pervasive vaccine distribution. The magnitude and scale to mobilize a global solution have never been more pressing given the rate of the disease’s spread. For COVID-19 Credentials Initiative (CCI), their likely countermeasure using Verifiable Credentials may just prove to be one solution to help safely reopen the economy by enabling speed of information for effective decisions.

CBC: “COVID-19 vaccine passports must address privacy, equity concerns, say experts”

February 17, 2021

As more countries look to adopt digital COVID-19 vaccine passports, one American tech expert says the certificates should be developed using a “privacy-preserving approach.”

“There’s a lot of us who have deep concerns about issues of equity, issues of, obviously, privacy … if you were to implement the [vaccine passport] system,” said Brian Behlendorf, managing director of blockchain, health care and identity at the Linux Foundation, a non-profit that is working on vaccine passport software.

MIT Technology Review: “The UK’s covid app made a serious difference during the winter surge”

February 11, 2021

The news: Researchers in the UK have calculated that its contact tracing app may have prevented around 600,000 cases of covid-19. The announcement is good news for the system—which underwent serious teething problems—and a step forward for exposure notification systems more generally.