Global scientists have reiterated the importance of herd immunity before the economy can fully open again, but a number of startups and big tech companies are trying to accelerate the return to normal.
Microsoft, Apple and Google have shown interest in developing vaccination records or certificates to enable safer travel.
“It’s pretty clear that vaccination certificates are evolving,” said ID2020 CEO Dakota Gruener. With this in mind, how do we ensure that this investment is made in the best possible way?
As one of the experts in a working group sponsored by the World Health Organization, Gruener and others hope to establish global standards for digital vaccination certificates.
Still, some public health officials are wary of vaccination certificates to prove immunity to the coronavirus. For one thing, insufficient data on the effectiveness and safety of the vaccines make them risky. There are also a number of equity concerns: Black, Latin American and indigenous peoples are particularly badly affected by the virus and are particularly skeptical of the vaccine. And there is currently no widespread and equitable access to the vaccines.
“I think it’s premature to talk about how we humans get these vaccination certificates,” said LJ Tan, the chief strategy officer for the Immunization Action Coalition. “Our focus should be on getting people vaccinated. As soon as we have vaccinated enough people, we can use this vaccinated pool for analysis.”
Onfido is one of the many startups hoping to innovate in this area. Kevin Trilli, chief product officer, said that while the universal use of vaccine certificates is near impossible, it can be effective for certain companies or industries. In any case, they are a wise investment in the future.
“If we miss the window a little and don’t make any money from it or whatever, we’ve all realized that it has to be there,” Trilli said.
Watch the video to learn more about how digital vaccination records are developed with security in mind.