Despite confusion with UK Government’s policy on COVID-19 immunity and vaccination passports (some weeks it is a ‘no’, some weeks a ‘maybe’, other weeks a ‘yes’), it appears there is growing evidence that some sort of digital record to indicate a citizen’s health status will materialise. This is not just a UK trend. Around the world, a consortium of airlines, airports, travel associations, transport groups, technology vendors and governments are joining forces to design and deploy systems to verify the health status of citizens eager to get out and about again.
These initiatives are known by a number of names including immunity passports, test records or vaccination passports but are now being commonly called a healthpass. Biometrics is fundamental to the success of these schemes and biometric providers are recognising that they offer a great opportunity in an economic age where other sectors are stalling on new projects. Biometrics enable these schemes accurately to verify identity and then to authenticate citizens into the healthpass to allow verifiers to access their Covid-19 health data – have I been vaccinated? When was I last tested? Can I safely enter a country?
The UK is piloting a system jointly developed by iProov and Mvine, and British Airways is testing VeriFLY, a biometric health app developed by Daon. There is a need for common standards and interoperability with these schemes and it is encouraging that a global initiative called the Good Health Pass Collaborative has very recently been launched. This initiative includes iProov and Daon joining forces with the Airport Council International (ACI), ID2020, MasterCard and SITA. I am sure that this something we will hotly debate during the coming weeks and months.