Proof of Vaccination is nothing new for many international travelers to specific destinations, however, how travelers will be sharing and providing vaccine validation in the future will be changing, and likely in a digital format.

What is a Health Passport?

The term health passport, or health pass, generally refers to documents – either in paper or digital format – that certifies a person is unlikely to either catch or spread a disease. In the case of Covid-19, the passports would attest that the holder has been vaccinated; has tested negative; or has recovered from it.

Creating a Digital Health Passport provides the same verification required for travel, but in a digital platform providing a convenient way to store and share the information electronically with necessary parties.

What Technologies are Available, or Under Development?

There are multiple technologies being developed at the country level as well as those that are expanding borders. A few of these platforms include:

  • CommonPass is a technology launched by the Commons Project Foundation and World Economic Forum which allows travelers to document their COVID-19 status electronically and present it when boarding an airplane or crossing a border. CommonPass is operated by the CommonTrust Network, which is a nonprofit organization aimed at giving people digital access to health information.

United Airlines was the first to trial CommonPass, and was later adopted by over 2,000 airports around the world as well as JetBlue, Lufthansa, Swiss International Airlines and Virgin Atlantic.

  • IATA Travel Pass is in the final development phase and will come to market for Apple and Android devices.
  • V-Health Passport, launched by British cyber technology company VST Enterprises, is a cross-border platform that can be downloaded and used alongside any form of Covid-19 testing and vaccination that does not use insecure bar codes and QR code technology.
  • AOKpass was developed by the International Chamber of Commerce and is currently being used between Abu Dhabi and Pakistan.

What are the Main Concerns/Opportunities of Health Passes?

As per a November article in the Washington Post, it was reported that travelers were purchasing fake Covid-19 results in order to travel. The current paper certification format for Covid-19 vaccinations also poses the potential for fraud. It is expected that a digital health passport, if standardized, would help to ensure the validity and verifiability of status, as well as safeguard against theft or loss.

The timing around when we can expect a standardized digital health passport is uncertain, and it is too early to tell if one will even be agreed upon globally. However, the future of digital health passes, similar to digital boarding passes, seems to be inevitable.

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