Geneva: On August 27, 2021, World Health Organization (WHO) published a guidance document for countries and implementing partners on the technical requirements for issuing digital certificates for vaccination against COVID-19.
Even though WHO claimed it does not support the requirement of proof of COVID-19 vaccination in order to travel, “in some situations, however, depending on the risk assessment of the countries concerned, information about vaccination against COVID-19 may be used to reduce requirements for quarantine or testing upon arrival”.
WHO however clarified this was not the primary purpose of the move towards digital documentation of COVID-19 status.
While vaccination certificates are nothing new, the Digital Documentation of COVID-19 Certificates is proposed as a mechanism by which a person’s COVID-19-related health data can be digitally documented via an electronic certificate.
The certificate can be used in the same way as a paper-based vaccination record/card – as health documents that record a vaccination event with key details including the date, product and batch number of the vaccine administered. That is to provide information to health care providers about the vaccination status of individuals, providing a basis for health workers to offer a subsequent dose and/or appropriate health services as appropriate. In some instances, vaccination cards are also used to facilitate international travel, for example in the case of yellow fever, where a vaccination certificate may be required by some countries as a condition of entry.
Historically, paper-based vaccination records have presented many challenges – such as the possibility of losing or damaging the card, or even the possibility of fraud. The proposed digital solutions are designed to address these challenges.
A vaccination certificate can be purely digital (for example stored in a smartphone application or on a cloud-based server) and replace the need for a paper card, or it can be a digital representation of the traditional paper-based record. The link between the paper record and the digital record can be established using a barcode, for example, printed on or affixed to the paper vaccination card. A digital certificate should never require individuals to have a smartphone or computer.
– global bihari bureau