Covid-19 Vaccine ‘Passports,’ Passes and Apps Around the Globe
It is the latest status symbol. Flash it at the people, and you can get access to concerts, sports arenas or long-forbidden restaurant tables. Some day, it may even help you cross a border without having to quarantine.The new platinum card of the Covid age is the vaccine certificate. It is a document that has existed for more than two centuries, but it has rarely promised to hold so much power over culture and commerce. Many versions of these certificates now come with a digital twist.“It’s been a long time since we’ve had a pandemic that has impacted every facet of society so thoroughly, and then a vaccine,” said Carmel Shachar, the executive director of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics at Harvard Law School. “There is no precedent since 1918, and we definitely didn’t have smartphones in 1918.”
Ramesh Raskar, a professor at M.I.T. Media Lab, has been leading an effort to develop a solution that includes both a paper certificate that anyone can easily carry as well as a free digital pass that works even without cell service.