COVID Vaccine Passports: What They Are & How They Work

While countries around the world scramble to get their citizens vaccinated against COVID-19 to curb the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant, it’s becoming increasingly clear that vaccination passports will hold the key to opening up borders again.

After almost two years of On-and-Off lockdowns and restricted movements, most of us are yearning to travel again, but that requires coordinated safety measures to be implemented, one of which is the use of COVID vaccination passports.

In this article, we’ll examine COVID vaccine passports: their purpose, how they work, and the benefits they offer, and we’ll explore TrustGrid’s vaccine passport solution for governments and enterprises.

What are COVID Vaccine Passports?

While the chief purpose of a COVID vaccine passport is to provide electronic proof of the holder’s official or approved vaccination record, a number of vaccine passport apps also integrate a travel component, such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA)‘s Travel Pass app.

The IATA Travel Pass is a mobile app designed to provide travelers an easy and secure way to manage their travel in compliance with government requirements for COVID-19 testing or vaccine information. Built with data security, convenience, and verification as top priorities, the IATA Travel Pass aims to provide a solution that both travelers and governments can trust.

Due to the wildly contrasting COVID measures and regulations of different countries, there is naturally a lack of consensus as to what kind of information vaccine passports should hold. However, the most basic information any vaccine passport should contain are credentials that the holder has received a COVID vaccination. This would comprise the following:

  1. A digital record of the individual’s vaccination dates and vaccine information (e.g. type, manufacturer, batch no., etc. ) as specified by the World Health Organization.
  2. Verification of the individual’s vaccine-related data by an authorized party.

How Vaccine Passports Work

In order for any COVID vaccine passport to facilitate safe international travel, it would need to satisfy the following requirements:

  • Be securely linked to travelers
  • Provide the traveler’s vaccination credentials for verification
  • Be almost impossible to forge, hack, or tamper with

More comprehensive vaccine passports might feature the integration of COVID test results and contact tracing information, alongside current movement restrictions and an evaluation of the individual’s eligibility to enter a specific destination in compliance with different countries’ COVID-19 regulations.

The current lack of regulated coordination on an international level suggests that for the time being, travelers will have to seek destination-specific solutions much like the way some of us have to obtain entry visas for specific countries prior to travel.

Australian Vaccine Passport: What to Expect

As of August 2021, the Australian Federal Government has backed a QR-code digital vaccine certificate for international travel under its four-phase plan to reopen the country’s borders. This vaccination certificate or vaccination passport can either be printed out or uploaded to a digital wallet on an electronic device.

Designed to enable quarantine-free international travel for its people, the Australian vaccine passport will link the individual’s vaccination status via their MyGov account—a secure online portal that stores Australians’ personal information—with digital vaccination certificates and border declarations.

The Benefits Vaccine Passports Offer

It’s important to bear in mind the data security challenges surrounding vaccine passports. Firstly, the individual’s personal data needs to be protected from unauthorized access, and secondly, the information contained in the vaccine passport needs to be accurate, reliable, and tamperproof.

There have been reports of a growing number of forged and bogus vaccine certificates being sold online, particularly on the dark web, which calls for stringent security measures to be implemented.

The most secure vaccination passports offer a number of benefits such as:

  1. Encrypted Data
    Vaccine passports with sophisticated security features would protect the data using very strong encryption to prevent unauthorized access and maintain the highest standards of data privacy.
  2. Near impossible to Forge
    Because vaccine passports bind the individual’s identification with their vaccination status, they are near impossible to forge compared to traditional paper records that can be easily Photoshopped. If the individual’s phone gets stolen, the vaccine data would only match their physical passport. And even if the offender got their hands on the passport, they wouldn’t be able to evade manual passport checks.
  3. Minimal Data Sharing
    Since the information is encrypted and stored only on the traveler’s mobile device rather than on a central database, the passport holder controls what information is shared. Even during information transactions at airport security or border control, the only data shared are the traveler’s identification details and vaccine information.

What is the TrustGrid Vaccine Passport Solution?

Designed using distributed ledger technology (aka blockchain), TrustGrid’s digital vaccine passport is an opt-in system for citizens and employees to authenticate their identity and vaccination status. The system generates a unique QR code for the individual to show as proof of vaccination. Any personal information is encrypted and stored in such a way that makes it inaccessible without permission.

TrustGrid™ offers the ideal solution for vaccine validation. In addition to ironclad security, it gives users complete control over enrolment without revealing personal data. Their personal information is never exposed, but TrustGrid provides absolute proof of vaccination. By enabling privacy-preserved tracing of vaccinations and health records, TrustGrid allows people and organizations to reliably present health-based credentials with ultimate confidentiality.

How the TrustGrid Vaccine Passport Works

  • Users opt-in using TrustGrid’s platform.
  • After downloading TrustGrid’s app, users can register for their COVID vaccination and/or provide proof of vaccination via the Covid Vaccine Pass on the app.
  • The app will also provide identity authentication to link the user’s identity to their vaccination status and records.
  • TrustGrid encrypts all user data to ensure that the data is only accessible through explicit user consent.
  • Proof of vaccination can then be shared via digitally signed consent by the user wherever it’s needed through an Android or iPhone app.

Here’s a quick video that demonstrates how the app works:

Learn more about TrustGrid’s digital solutions for vaccinations.

TrustGrid™ enables governments and organizations to create secure digital ecosystems anywhere in the world with sovereign control of data and maximized citizen privacy. This solution can be delivered with unlimited scale and unprecedented speed. TrustGrid™ orchestrates multiple state-of-the-art technologies into a single platform, combining innovative cryptography, data privacy, confidential computing, and distributed ledger technology into a highly customizable identity platform.

Talk to us to find out how we can help your organization manage your employees’ vaccination validation for work and travel.

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