Staring at your bucket list of the countries to visit which remained unachieved in 2020? It is sad, isn’t it? Not able to travel or socialize, is essentially taking away the essence of our existence. The pandemic and lockdown have chained us at home. While we are grateful that we have food, money, and shelter to survive, but staying confined in the four walls has surely taken the toll on most. As per the US Travel Association, in 2019, a total of 1.1 trillion dollars was spent by travellers across the globe. However, in March 2021, the World Travel and Tourism Council confirmed the impact of COVID-19 where this sector suffered a catastrophic loss of 3.8 trillion pounds in 2020. This was one of the major reasons for the drop in the world economy.
Well, the outbreak of COVID-19 has devastated a lot more than just shattering our travel dreams. Disruption of businesses, economic impact, mental health issues, and more, you name it, and the virus has affected us in many possible ways than this. However, people are enduring this ire with the hope that they will see the sunshine at the end of the tunnel, and that their life will return to normalcy. But as and when it happens possessing a vaccine passport or immunity passport will be a must! This article will inform you about what a vaccine passport is, why is it necessary, how will blockchain assists this process, and more.
What is a vaccine passport?
A vaccine passport or an e-pass is a document of proof that an individual has been vaccinated against CVOID-19. However, one might be allowed to travel even if they have tested negative. All these norms are in the initial phase. This proof can be digital or on a piece of official paper. So basically, it is your hall pass to enter a party, school, pub, office, socialize or travel worldwide. This vaccine certificate can typically be in the form of a barcode which ensures the authorities that you have tested negative for COVID or taken a jab.
A concrete list of norms, rules, and regulations for a vaccine passport will be listed soon, in order, to make travel easier. Several airlines, industry giants like IBM, Microsoft and Oracle, NGOs, and technology companies are already working on this. At the recently concluded online G20 Summit, several countries agreed to the concept of the vaccine passport. The vaccine passport will contain a lot of crucial data which will help us suppress such the virus in the near future. Or this data will come in handy if we are hit with another pandemic of this sort. However, a lot of them are sceptical about this passport as it withholds are some personal details as well.
Blockchain and vaccine passports
When it comes to sharing data or information privacy, confidentiality, data security and integrity is an important aspect. For people to embrace this concept, they should be assured that their data is secure and well-guarded. Data infringement or breaches is a menace that haunts everyone, especially the healthcare sector. In 2019, this concern has affected over 40 million people in the US. This rate has considerably increased since 2018, where 14 million people were affected by healthcare data breaches.
Along with restoring citizen trust, government officials or parties should also be assured that the vaccine passport contains authentic data. The vaccine passport answers:
One false record can create a catastrophic impact. For instance, suppose if a COVID positive person is carrying a vaccine passport where the records forged. If it goes unnoticed, and the person is allowed to cross the border, this ripple effect can result in several positive cases. Trustworthy ledgers will assure both citizens and authorities! When the risk is high, incorporating blockchain and digital ledger technologies will assure both citizen and government authorities regarding data privacy, transparency, decentralization, and authentication. Nonetheless, this technology comes with a few concerns.
How will it work?
Courtesy of blockchain, the way the patient's data is shared across the entities in the value chain has changed. It eliminates the third party and middleman, further reducing the risk of data theft and other frauds. These days most of us use a smartphone. Only registered and verified vaccination centres should be authorized to feed the data. Information such as vaccine data, delivery data, vaccination date, and location are critical.
This information should be stored against the person's passport ID or other security ID. Against which a QR code should be generated. Securing the data on a QR code ensures safety and privacy. This data should be accessed through a cryptography mechanism, that is through, encryption and decryption, digital signature, and verification. Overall, through blockchain this process becomes secure. So, essentially, these steps should be followed while creating a new record.
There are several positives of using this concept. To access data of such intensity, using blockchain to facilitate communication for APIs ensures secure transaction, legitimacy, and the ability to prove that previous transaction did happen. More than anything, accessing the digital vaccine passport requires permission from several network members, which makes it legitimate and secure. Citizen’s data is shared upon their consent which ensures faith and trust.
There is hope!
The application of blockchain comes as a relief and with some usual concerns as well. But considering the current situation, the positives are way higher, giving up us the hope that things will be back to normal. Ideally, for this to work, globally there should be identical norms. When the government and citizens join hands with technology, everything seems achievable.
Want to know more about how blockchain will ensure the smooth working of vaccine passports?
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