What Should Young People Look for in a Digital Vaccine Passport?

by V. Van Geyzel Kelaart*
26 July 2021  

Throughout our childhood, and even young adulthood, parents, teachers and experts taught us to be careful with what we put out on the internet and what we download from it. Countless daunting YouTube videos and cartoons about identity theft and impersonation would threaten us, and, as our teachers would ruthlessly say, “this could happen to you.” This instilled fear in us to this very day. This is a healthy fear, in response to real cyber dangers.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it feels like our governments have bombarded us with new applications to track which establishments we have frequented and to report test results to our health services. As a result of our upbringing, we young people have been reluctant to download such applications, worrying that the government is tracking our every move and invading our privacy.

However, we are at a point in the pandemic where downloading an application could help us, and society, return to normalcy. Vaccination passports will be an essential element in this process. As more people worldwide get vaccinated, more countries have introduced vaccination passports into everyday life. For example, Italy has announced that, as of this week, it will only allow fully vaccinated people, or those with a negative PCR test, into indoor establishments. Other countries in Europe, such as Germany and France, are soon likely to follow Italy’s footsteps.

Here are 3 qualities you, a young adult, should look for in a digital vaccine passport:

  1. That it’s the right type of digital vaccine passport for your needs

As vaccination numbers have increased over the last few months, several vaccination passport applications have emerged. However, it is essential that you download the right application – one which is reputable, and which will be accepted for your needs. Certain countries only accept specific proof of vaccination and will disregard other methods, especially foreign ones. For this reason, it is important to check your country’s government website to ensure your digital vaccination passport is accepted.

  1. That your identity is safe

It is important to use a digital vaccine passport which protects your identity and your privacy. Once your identity is uploaded into an app, it must be secure, and you must have complete control over your data and how you wish to use it. Look for an app which utilises blockchain, a specific type of database which stores data in blocks that are chained together. It enables more secure management and storage of digital identities by providing a tamper-proof infrastructure. When data is recorded within a block, it cannot be changed. Once your identity is uploaded to the app, you have complete control over your data.

  1. That it has a high standard of verification and authentication

There have been countless stories on the news of false vaccination certificates.  Look for a digital vaccine passport that can verify your digital identity, and uses biometrics, such as facial scanning, to ensure that the documentation belongs to you.  If possible, also look for a digital vaccine passport that can use blockchain technology to ensure that the vaccination data attached to your digital vaccine passport comes from an authorized participating laboratory and is itself authentic.  This gives you your best chance of ensuring that your vaccination passport is legitimate, so you can confidently use it to help return to travel, access to indoor settings, and other aspects of normal life.

* V. Van Geyzel Kelaart, RKN Global DWC-LLC’s 2021 summer intern, is in the final stages of preparation for university studies.