COVID-19 vaccine passports explained

Tech Industry
As more people around the world start to get vaccinated against COVID-19, a vaccine passport could be the key to getting your life back. But how do they work? Where would you use a vaccine passport? And most importantly, do they keep your information secure? [MUSIC] As we enter a second year of the pandemic, proving you've been vaccinated is becoming a big factor in doing everything from going back to work, going to baseball games and traveling overseas. Health officials say that secure and trusted vaccine credentials are vital to safely reopening society. But how does the vaccine passport work? [SOUND] Well, the idea is simple enough. Once you get your vaccine you get a pass either on paper or on your smartphone. A quick scan of a QR code can tell someone whether you've been vaccinated or not a basic yes or no. Or it can give more granular details like the type of vaccine you got According to Karen Gardner from the security company Sidhpur, using a vaccine passport should be as simple as possible for the user. So one of the things when you look at what might you be using and holding when you're walking into a bar or traveling through the airport, this is an example built into, in this case, the my backs app from Beck's tracks in the vectrex coalition and so it's something that can be Provided in that app, but it can also be emailed to me I could print it out and the same code could be scanned and verified. It's digitally signed and secured behind the scenes. It could also be the same information embedded into a chip on a plastic card that could be read like your passport is read at the border. These kinds of credentials are already being trialled around the world. Israel has already successfully rolled out its green passport. Which is available to anyone who's been vaccinated or who's recovered from COVID. Users register to get a unique QR code either on an app or sent to them via the post, which they can then show to get into bars, restaurants and concerts. In New York, the state government has partnered with IBM to develop the Excelsior app, which lets New Yorkers download or print a QR code to show their vaccine status. The app is completely voluntary and can also be used to show proof of a negative COVID test. In the past three days UK has announced a trial of COVID status certification, which would verify people who've been vaccinated. As well as people who have been recently tested or those who have recovered and have immunity. Another group that's developed a vaccine passport system is the path check Foundation, a spin off of MIT. They've developed a paper vaccine card that also comes with a QR code. According to MIT, associate professor and path check founder Ramesh Raskar. Having a paper pass means that it's easy to use. But having a QR code means that your vaccine status is digitally certified and cryptographically secured so it can't be faked, forged or changed. The only difference is that you would get a very specialized QR code On your credential. And that QR code is not that different from kind of a QR code that you have on the other side of your driver's license is digitally certified so that it cannot be tampered. So even if you change all the information on the front and the back, the way information is encoded Is digitally certified so that it cannot be spoofed. It's only remains valid for one given person. The path check card can also hold multiple QR codes for different uses. And you can still store the QR code on your phone. So you don't have to carry the paper card with you. But because the past doesn't require an app, it's accessible for the millions of people around the world who don't own a smartphone. That paper element is also really important for privacy. According to risk art, there's no internet connection required and venues can't use your code to see your location history of all the places you've been All you need is your purse and your ID. But it's true that somebody else could take this card but then you would use this in addition to your, you know, National ID or driver's license and that shows that you know all those Says are at. I need to show that I'm Ramsey Raskar and I'm born in 1981 of the biggest concerns around vaccine passports is security and privacy. According to Karen Gardner, your personal information is already being recorded when you get the vaccine. And there are laws in place that regulate how that health data can be stored and shared. So the key is to make sure that health authorities are the ones issuing these vaccine passports. I fully appreciate the privacy concerns that many people have. And one of the key things in helping to provide the assurance that your personal data is not going to get used inappropriately. It's not going to get into the hands of the wrong people. It's not going to be used to track every step you take, is that we ensure that the the records stay in their source location, right so your vaccination and health records stay with your health care provider. We're with the state public health officials who have these immunization registries. And that's where the credentials should be issued from. So you're not having to replicate information into a lot of new places. Another big question about vaccine passports is whether you can actually force the public to use them. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned about discriminating against people because of their vaccine status in the UK. There are complicated ethical and practical issues just because after all many people will be for one reason or another unable to get a vaccine with, for medical reasons, for instance, or perhaps because they're pregnant or whatever. So you've got to be very careful in how you handle this and don't, To start a system that's that discriminatory. The World Health Organization has also advised against vaccine passports for international travel, saying they'd isolate countries that don't have access to the vaccine. And in the US, The White House says it one set a national requirement for vaccine passports and there'll be no federal vaccine database In fact, Florida Governor Ron De Santis has already issued an order banning vaccine passports saying no one should have to prove their vaccine status to participate in normal society. But even as the debate rages on, the push for vaccine passports may not come from lawmakers in the end. The San Francisco Giants baseball team has already said it's going to require proof of a vaccine or a negative COVID test for fans to come into games. Path check says it's working with employers already to ensure that staff can come back to work safely using their verification system and in states like Florida even if lawmakers ban vaccine passports Those residents may still need to provide proof of their vaccine status if they wanna go into state. In fact, the travel industry could be a big driver of adoption of vaccine credentials the international travel industry body IATA Trialing an app called travel pass, which it says is the key to opening up international quarantine free travel. The app lets you create a digital version of your passport on your phone and then link your flight details COVID status and identity all in one place. Passengers can also use the app to find out the specific testing requirements of the country they're traveling to. And in the future, it could be used to upload and verify vaccine requirements too. Right now, you can't get on an international flight without your regular passport. So if airlines and international governments start requiring proof of vaccine Well, that could make vaccine passports the norm. In early 2021, I had to take a last minute trip from the US back to Australia, which has had its international border closed for more than a year. Not only was the plane pretty much empty, but it involved a lot of paperwork. Finding the right COVID test before my flight, uploading my test results and all of my travel information with the airline and the Australian Government. And then when I got into Australia, I still had to do two weeks locked in mandatory hotel quarantine scanning a QR code at check in and skipping out on all that red tape and quarantine. That would have been a huge game changer. So, a vaccine passport might not be mandatory for you, but life without one could soon become pretty cumbersome. No big arena events, no sporting games, no concerts, no return to work. In short, no job, no service. Vaccine possible. It might not be here forever, but as we try to return to life as normal, they could be the key to getting us there, whether we like them or not.

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