A key tech initiative as COVID-19 vaccinations begin rolling out are digital health passports. One example is being developed by a group of large tech companies along with the Mayo Clinic as part of the Vaccination Credential Initiative. The Initiative’s digital vaccination record will likely be a smartphone app. The Initiative is leveraging the CommonPass app, which is already being used by airlines to allow passengers to show a negative COVID-19 test result, which is a requirement to board certain flights.

A goal of digital health passports is to establish universal standards to verify whether a person has had a vaccination. Such digital health passports will become important as governments and major airlines require proof of either negative COVID testing, or eventually of vaccinations. For example, effective January 26, 2021, all air passengers arriving to the U.S. from a foreign country must provide proof of a negative test result or documentation that they have recovered from COVID-19 prior to boarding the flight.

A key aspect in the development of digital health passports is ensuring data security. The system is designed as a digital wallet, allowing individuals to have control over who they share their information with. However, the data still moves between multiple systems and users must maintain proper data safeguards on their device to ensure the data is protected.