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Photo: EyeEm / Haris M.

Digital ID Systems Can Help Vaccination Deployment, But Should Never Be a Barrier to Access

– World Bank

How inclusive and safeguarded digital ID schemes can support vaccine rollout

In this World Bank blog, the authors explain how identifying people eligible for vaccines can be made much more efficient through digital identity, as can sorting appointments and linking vaccine status to health records. However, many countries which lack the infrastructure for this are using national IDs and population databases to build their vaccine registers from scratch, which the authors recommend should only be used if the systems meet certain conditions.

“These conditions are essentially the ten Principles on Identification for Sustainable Development and in particular that coverage is universal (or, if near-universal, easily accessible for everyone who is unregistered), that it is secure and implements best practices for data protection, and that it can interface with other digital platforms, such as vaccine information management systems and immunization registries.”

The article also notes it is crucial that possession of an ID should never be required in order to receive a vaccination, and that non-digital alternatives must be made available for those who aren’t digitally literate. ID schemes should also adhere to agreed data protection frameworks.

In this regard, the use of digital vaccine certificates are an opportunity to implement privacy-enhancing approaches, such as zero-knowledge proofs, decentralized wallets, and verifiable credentials, which would be paradigm shifting for how data are used, re-used and validated

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