Good Health Pass Digitizes COVID-19 Health Credentials to Restore Air Travel Worldwide - Identity Review - Identity Review | Global Tech Think Tank

As vaccines to protect from COVID-19 are rolled out and borders are being opened to travelers in the post-pandemic world, airlines and governments must determine a way to ensure safe travel amidst the unsteady distribution of COVID-19 vaccines around the world. Although compliant COVID-19 test results are already required at many major airports around the world for entry, it is highly likely that vaccination proof will soon be required for travel.

Last week, members of Good Health Pass, an international collaborative and cross-sector initiative, announced details on a blueprint for a new digital health credential system. This collaborative consists of over 25 leading individual companies and organizations across the technology, health and travel sectors. The goal of the new digital health credential system is to create a globally recognized, interoperable digital health credential system that can be easily used during travel, like a passport.

A New Standard for Travel

Currently, the main method of tracking COVID-19 vaccinations and providing certificates is through the issuance of a small paper slip. Although this is a simple method of tracking, these slips are easy to lose, unnecessarily expose sensitive personal information, and are prone to fraud and counterfeiting.

In light of these downfalls, a number of efforts in progress toward developing both COVID-19 vaccination and test certificates for global travel have come to light in a frantic race to market. These include Health Pass by Clear, which is currently in use at Los Angeles International Airport, as well as CommonPass, which is used by United Airlines on select international flights. The World Health Organization is also actively working on a similar effort to create a digital vaccine certificate.

“When it comes to international travel, there is an urgent and compelling need for digital health certificates to prove one’s test results or, increasingly, vaccination,” said Dakota Gruener, executive director of ID2020, a public-private partnership based in San Francisco that promotes privacy-protecting, and portable, digital identity systems. “Many efforts are being implemented by different airports and airlines with different solutions providers, but without guidance around standards, there’s a real risk of fragmentation.”

However, the presence of these concurrent efforts may not be the most efficient way of implementing a digital health certificate system. Without agreed upon standards, different digital health passes risk creating a fragmented system that may slow down efforts to bring travel back in a safe way.

“Fragmentation is a risk we simply cannot ignore,” said Gruener. “To be valuable to users, credentials need to be accepted at check-in, upon arrival by border control agencies, and more. We can get there—even with multiple systems—as long as solutions adhere to open standards and participate in a common governance framework. But without these, fragmentation is inevitable, and travelers—and the economy—will continue to suffer needlessly as a result.”

With this in mind, Good Health Pass has an overarching goal that differs from the rest. The digital certificate system aims to stitch these efforts together to create a seamless, streamlined, passport-like certificate that is interoperable and functional across all geographic borders. Furthermore, the initiative aims to fill gaps where they may exist and facilitate collaboration among a new ecosystem of stakeholders, many of whom have never worked together.

In light of the airline industry’s $118.5 billion loss in 2020 and its projected $38.7 billion loss this year, Good Health Pass’s effort marks an important step toward returning the world closer to its pre-pandemic state.


Serena He is a Tech Innovation Fellow from the University of Southern California who is interested in AI and the intersection of design and technology. She enjoys covering news across the digital identity and tech space.

Contact Serena He at

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