A Vaccine Passport: Digital or Old Fashioned Rubber Stamp?

January 20, 2021

Vaccination papers, commonly a yellow immunization card, are required for entry into many foreign countries. The World Health Organization created the International Certificate of Inoculation and Vaccination (aka ICV, carte jaune, or yellow card) in 1935.

The COVID-19 may require all international travelers to carry a vaccination passport along with their usual paper, except it might be digital. IBM’s Watson is developing these passports says AFAR in the article, “How Vaccine Passports Will Actually Work.”

Currently, a COVID-19 consists of a piece of paper from the CDC with an individual’s personal information, date of first vaccine, who administrated it, and room for the next dose. Since the COVID-19 vaccination record is only a piece of paper it could be lost and it does not help when most paperwork is digital.

IBM is working on a platform called the IBM Digital Health Pass, where pharmacy and healthcare workers can upload vaccination information that the government will verify. It will take time to deploy the IBM platform, but individuals can be proactive by downloading an approved health app and uploading their information. There are problems with rolling out the platform, especially those who do not have access to smartphones:

“When it comes to digital health passes, ‘How do we make sure that we head in that direction in the most transparent way, and in a way that also provides the greatest amount of access that doesn’t shut people out?’ says Michele Goodwin, director for the Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy at the University of California in Irvine, School of Law.

She adds,

‘Not everybody has access to sophisticated smartphones. These are very expensive phones. Or if they have a phone, they may not have the data plan. What you don’t want to do is to deny individuals things that are looking to become a societal privilege or right simply based on their socioeconomic status.’”

Fierce Biotech explains that IBM is working with Salesforce to rollout its IBM Digital Health Pass: “IBM Links With Salesforce To Offer Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Passports.”

The IBM Digital Health Pass is part of the IBM Watson Health endeavor. By teaming with Salesforce, IBM plans to help organizations expand the availability of COVID-19 vaccination verifications.

Salesforce will assist organizations by adding IBM’s technology to its Work.com platform:

“ ‘Our partnership with IBM will give organizations a single platform designed to provide safe and continuous operations, deepen trust with customers and employees and do everything possible to support their health and wellbeing,’ said Bill Patterson, executive vice president and general manager of customer relationship management applications at Salesforce.”

IBM is a technology company, so their resources are limited when it comes to distributing a health platform internationally. By combining its technology with Salesforce’s CRM platform, IBM can focus on perfecting its health system will Salesforce work on the distribution.

IBM and health. A match made in a synthetic biology lab located near Armonk.

Lucky Armonk.

Whitney Grace, January 20, 2021

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