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In February, ID2020 launched the Good Health Pass Collaborative—an initiative that coordinates a variety of companies and organizations from the health, technology and travel sectors. The members have drafted an “Interoperability Blueprint” for digital health pass systems, formulating a safe path to resume international travel and rebuilding the global economy.
Over 120 experts from these three industries—health, technology and travel—have assisted in the development of the blueprint, and in ID2020’s words, the blueprint “proposes a comprehensive standard for digital health passes, which will enable compliant passes to be universally recognized and accepted by airlines, airports and border control agencies around the world, thus creating a trusted, convenient, and seamless travel experience.”
The Good Health Pass Collaborative has three primary objectives: restoring confidence, promoting equity and fostering collaboration.
Restoring confidence, firstly, is key to resuming international travel. By establishing safety when traveling, governments can facilitate the reopening of borders and people can be incentivized to travel again. While physical certificates like paper documents have traditionally been used, the Good Health Pass Collaborative supports the expansion of digital health credentials stored on mobile devices—this diminishes the possibility of exposing sensitive information while offering a more convenient method of health verification.
The Good Health Pass Collaborative’s initiative to promote equity, moreover, takes on a worldly mission.
“It is expected to take years to vaccinate the world’s 7.9 billion people,” they say. “Widespread testing is an essential public health tool—and one that must continue alongside vaccination to ensure an equitable return to public life.”
Finally, the Good Health Pass Collaborative is pushing technological collaboration to expedite the creation of digital health records for both vaccinations and test results. They assert a single digital health pass will likely not be used globally, so it is paramount that such digital solutions can exchange information seamlessly.
“Fragmentation is a risk we simply cannot ignore. To be valuable to users, credentials need to be accepted at check-in, upon arrival by border control agencies, and more,” says Dakota Gruener, ID2020 Executive Director. “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.”
Uniting digital solutions is paramount to the Collaborative’s initiatives—they can “help weave [these digital solutions] together, fill gaps where they may exist, and facilitate collaboration among a new ecosystem of stakeholders, many of whom have never worked together.”
In March, the Collaborative sent a letter to the White House encouraging the Biden Administration to take on the Good Health Pass Collaborative’s components, assemble several representatives from government organizations for a roundtable discussion and determine guidance for health pass creation.
The Good Health Pass Collaborative likewise forwarded an open letter to Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison in May, urging Prime Minister Morrison to encourage coordinated action on behalf of the G7 Summit to “facilitate international alignment on standards for digital health passes as a means to restore international travel and restart the global economy.”
Australia has primarily remained closed to the majority of the world since the COVID-19 pandemic began and has not clearly determined a date for reopening. While Australia and New Zealand created a travel bubble, allowing for quarantine-free travel, New Zealand suspended the program in late July. Australia’s major international airline, Qantas, has suspended most of its international network until December, and could be delayed even further.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Roger Lu is an aviation enthusiast and analyst researching the implications of technology on global travel. He enjoys writing about how data is utilized in the context of aviation security and customer experience.
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