Photo: / Ivan Marc

A COVID Vaccine Certificate: Building on Lessons from Digital ID for the Digital Yellow Card

– Center for Global Development

The challenge of developing a formidable COVID-19 vaccine certification program with trusted digital identity principles

Many countries across the globe have begun discussions on ways to securely identify individuals who have been vaccinated, in order to regulate safe travel and provide specific exemptions. This article discusses the challenges associated with this ambition and proposes solutions based on the digital ID infrastructure already present in various countries toward creating a COVID Vaccine Certificate (CVC).

"One thing is clear: the CVC will be a formidable challenge, not only to international cooperation, but because it will need to be implemented in the course of mass vaccination campaigns across countries with very different health management systems and ID systems and with a constantly evolving situation."

There is a need for digital CVCs to be inclusive in their designs to prevent them from widening the digital divide. Draft inclusive principles from the World Health Organization to consider for the certificate include the right for everyone to obtain and hold a smart vaccination certificate, every smart vaccination certificate should be recognized and verifiable by any trusted authority, and only a minimum amount of data should be collected and appropriately shared.

Low-cost, high-access approaches are essential, if the process is not to widen the digital and affordability divide between rich and poor countries, and rich and poor people. Appropriate technology can help to achieve this goal, balancing Level of Assurance against Level of Security, and helping to achieve greater functionality with better privacy safeguards

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