Digital Wellness/Health Passport: Is This the Final Answer to Returning to Travel?

GBTA Risk Committee Blog Post – March 2021

I think everyone agrees that we find ourselves living in a different environment since the onset of the pandemic.  And now with the administration of the COVID vaccine, we are thinking about and wondering how to safely prepare for a return to business travel.  So, what will be mandated for the traveler in order to try and make travel safer relative to their ongoing health?  There are so many questions without proven answers.

If you have been or are reading business travel related white papers and participating in webinars, then you have heard about “Digital Wellness/Health Passport” possibly becoming a required travel document ………………even when traveling within your respective country and more so when traveling international.  What is this digital wellness document all about?

Well, we know that the typical passport proves your identity.  However, a digital wellness/health passport could confirm that you have received a COVID-19 vaccine and, in some cases, that you are negative for the virus; and could also confirm you have received and are current with other immunizations specifically required for your destination.

The digital wellness/health passport idea is one the United States and many other countries are considering, but cybersecurity experts and doctors say there are some big concerns. “Just by having a vaccination, depending on the vaccine you have, doesn’t mean you have immunity to COVID,” UCSF infectious disease expert Dr. Peter Chin-Hong said. “There’s regular COVID, which we know the data from, and there are variants circling around.”

Supporters of the wellness/health passport program believe it would help the tourism economy and struggling businesses like the airline, hotel, rail and car industry.  But cybersecurity experts worry about hacking and other issues with people’s medical and personal information.  Obviously, there are many moving parts in this endeavor that need to be carefully considered for privacy, security and safety reasons.

Recently, US President, Joe Biden, asked several US government agencies to start looking into digital international vaccination certificates.  Also, several tech giants in the U.S. are now racing to build a system for digital passports.  So, we know some form of a digital health passport is in our future and we should start educating ourselves now as this continues to evolve, and perhaps becomes a “must have” in order to travel.

With respect to a couple organizations who have offerings to consider, below are their respective presentations telling you more about their Digital Wellness/Health Passport product.  I am sure we will continue to see additional providers offering a Digital Wellness/Health Passport very soon.

 

The more we know; the better decisions we can make

 

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