Infectious Disease

Will COVID-19 vaccine passports become part of the new normal?

April 23, 2021

2 min read

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Media reports recently raised the issue of vaccination passports, which people can use to prove their vaccination status against COVID-19.

However, the Biden administration said it did not support a nationwide system that The Hill reportedly required Americans to carry vaccination cards.

Anthony Harris, MD, MBA, MPH, is Chief Innovation Officer and Associate Medical Director at WorkCare, one of several companies that develop vaccination records. We asked him under what circumstances the passports could be used and whether they are feasible and safe.

Healio basic supply: Can you describe some the initiatives currently underway Create vaccination records?

Harris: We have joined the Vaccination Credential Initiative as general members, the main objective of which is to provide individuals with access to a trustworthy and verifiable copy of their vaccination records in digital or paper format. These efforts were started by Microsoft, Oracle, Epic, Cerner, and others.

The second project is an app called Transformative Recovery Actions for Community or TRAFC. Through this ongoing collaboration between WorkCare, the Doctors in Chicago, and the city’s business community, we want to safely conduct a person’s vaccination screening while protecting the individual’s privacy, thereby increasing the capacity and supporting these facilities of the city’s restaurants, retail stores, etc. ‘ Capacity back to normal.

Healio basic supply: How are vaccination certificates enforced?

Harris: That’s the million dollar question. We have seen a black market for COVID-19 PCR testing, so we expect a black market for evidence of vaccination. For this reason, all data entered in Traffic will be treated like other clinical documentation and will be reviewed by one of our clinicians.

Healio Primary Care: What are the privacy concerns associated with this type of documentation?

Harris: The privacy concerns are very similar to those from the early days of HIPAA, as the passport is medical documentation of a vaccination and should be protected. It is for this reason that we put our name in handling the vaccination verification process, just like we treat any other clinical documentation that we review day in and day out.

Healio Primary Care: Who must have a vaccination certificate with them?

Harris: At this point it appears that vaccination cards are voluntary. It is up to the employer to decide if he is needed. To this day, we don’t hear that the government will mandate them as the legal debate behind such a requirement continues.

Healio basic supply: Do you think the US government will? ever introduce a coordinated, nationwide vaccination record system? Why or why not?

Harris: I don’t think so. This would likely only happen if vaccine passports became a global initiative, and there is currently no way to set requirements that any nation wishing to participate in a vaccination passport initiative can meet.

Healio Primary Care: Which other countries have started introducing vaccination records? How did the public react to them?

Harris: I am not aware of any country that has implemented a COVID-19 vaccination record board at this time.

Singapore experimented with a passport procedure related to COVID-19 but not for vaccination. It was said that people couldn’t go to that country’s Disney theme park if they didn’t have a passport to prove they’d complied with the tests until they entered the park. Although there seemed to be good acceptance there, there are things in the Far East that would not pass in the US, like measuring your own BMI to reduce the risk of injury in the workplace.

Reference:

Samuels B. White House rules out participation in “vaccination records”. The hill. Published April 6, 2021. https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/546705-white-house-rules-out-involvement-in-vaccine-passports. Accessed April 16, 2021.

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