Amid demands from various fronts, Google has decided to develop a system that will let people store digitized evidence of their Covid-19 vaccination on Android phones.
With the vaccination of Covid-19 status easily accessible, verifying the details is bound to become exponentially easier for companies and states.
However, for this purpose, health care organizations or governments will be required to use Google’s system to make vaccination cards available to people digitally using the new tools, Google announced in a blog post on Wednesday.
“The feature is starting in the US but coming to more countries,” the company said without specifying which ones. The company said it will not keep a copy of the information.
California is among states that have kicked off a program to make digital cards accessible and commonplace through its own system.
Technology firms have pushed the benefits of digital vaccine passports, particularly as some companies and venues are requiring proof. Fraudulent cards are already a problem.
At the onset of the pandemic, Google and Apple Inc. started efforts for disease contact tracing using mobile phones. But the efforts failed to get considerable traction with governments and consumers.
So far, Healthvana Inc., a medical data company, is using Google’s system in Los Angeles, the company said.
The move comes at a time when talks of “vaccine passports” are gaining momentum.
What are vaccine passports?
These are documents that show you were vaccinated against Covid-19 or recently tested negative for the virus. They could help you get into places such as stadiums or even countries that are looking to reopen safely.
Experts say they should be free and available on paper, not just on apps, since not everyone has a smartphone.
In the US, federal officials say there are no plans to make them broadly mandatory.
They can help in easing international travel bans since people will be able to show proof they’re vaccinated. Some countries have long had requirements to prove vaccination against yellow fever.
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