By Frank Ricotta, CEO, BurstIQ.
COVID-19 has brought one major thing into focus for just about everyone on the planet. We learned that we are all interconnected, that one action in one area can quickly turn into a worldwide crisis. We learned that our stories weave together to capture a much broader view of all the diverse factors that impact our health. Not just our physical health, but also our mental health, our emotional health, and our financial health.
As we enter into our second year dealing with this crisis, we continue to struggle with how to bring back some sense of normalcy to our lives. One glimmer of hope is the emergence of a health passport. In a short period of time, we have gone from hardly anyone talking about health passports to it being a very relevant topic as a means to safely open up economies, travel, get our kids back in school, and finally put a lot of the past year behind us.
What exactly is a health passport, also referred to as an immunity pass, vaccine pass, healthpass, health wallet, or a test verification? On the surface, a health passport seems simple enough. It would contain a digital certification documenting if you have been vaccinated against a virus, are currently in an immune state, and/or have recently tested negative for the virus, most notably, the COVID-19 virus. The data is typically presented as a QR code. The pass would be held in a wallet on our smart phone, printedif necessary, or loaded on a smart card.
The travel industry has been leading the charge to implement health passports with the hospitality and entertainment industry not far behind. Many believe this is the only path to reinstating international travel, fully opening up public venues, restarting classroom education, and getting back to normal.
But not everyone agrees.
At a press briefing on Mar. 8, 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO)Executive Director for Health Emergencies Programs, Dr. Michael Ryan, said that there are “real practical and ethical considerations” for countries considering using vaccine certification as a condition for travel, adding the U.N. health agency advises against it now. Theprimary reason is that vaccinations are not available enough around the world and is not available on an equitable basis.