Proof of the Covid Vaccination
Covid vaccinations are vital. For those of us eager to travel and for the travel industry itself, the availability of vaccines is the only glimmer of light in these dark days of Covidry.
We have seen extraordinary accomplishments. Tens of thousands of scientists from all over the world having immediate access to each others’ peer-reviewed research.
Artificial Intelligence has reduced the time required to make millions of calculations, and allowed the pharmaceutical industry to reach the stage of vaccine roll-outs in record time.
While the speed that the vaccine’s evolution worries some, it is a testament to the extraordinary scientific capacity that we have in the twenty-first century, and to a global desire to reach a safe and satisfactory immunisation protocol.
To my mind, however, there is another very difficult task ahead: the development of a suitably robust Proof of Vaccination (PoV).
Proof of Vaccination will be the key to the re-emergence of a mobile world.
We know the problem. To be vaccinated in Sheffield or Tokyo is one thing; to be able to prove this effectively to an airline in Australia, an American cruise line, a border official in Tajikistan is quite another.
For years, travel to the world’s more remote places has required vaccinations, but now the game has changed: these proofs will be needed for some of the most mundane journeys and activities.
The list of organisations, countries and businesses that may require irrefutable proof of a travellers’ vaccination is extensive and expansive. This global requirement will involve a universal acceptance of a wide variety of vaccines, and herein lies the difficulty.
Canada and China have already come to difficulties in sourcing and testing vaccines, and this is only the beginning of the issue.
Will all of the world recognise all of the world’s vaccines?
I believe that there is a necessity to develop a global PoV. If this is the case, it follows that the PoV will need to be recognised by a broad variety of countries. This recognition will be mutual, and by necessity will require all signatories to recognise the products of each other.
If the USA fails to recognise (for example) a Chinese vaccine, will it recognise the inoculation validity of a Chinese traveller who has taken that serum? If the PoV protocol fails to recognise a Russian serum, will Russia and it allies, fail to recognise the PoV?
It would seem that the World Health Organisation is the logical group to organise a global recognition protocol, but this, of course, places the project into an immediately difficult political position.
The US, having withdrawn so forcefully from the WHO is not in any position to drive any global agenda, and is unlikely to accept a Chinese/Russian program without input. The European Union will want a say, and no doubt the process will drag on indefinitely.
Currently there are only manual systems. There is a globally recognised “International Certificate of Vaccination” that many carry to prove their compliance to various inoculation requirements. Notably Yellow Fever.
This document, however, is clumsy, easily forged and unlikely to satisfy many authorities.
The Bottom Line
The solution may be an augmented ID card; it may be added to the biometric detail in our passports; it may be a simple card with a simple bar code; it may be nothing more than a piece of paper.
What is sure, however, is that a Proof of Vaccination, valid in multiple jurisdictions, readable in numerous languages, and accessible in a variety of locations with deeply varying internet connectivity will not arrive overnight.