The travel bug

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

The travel bug

When the Medicare app was first released some years ago, I was a first adopter. I told everyone who would listen that the “Medicare wallet is the ultimate convenience”. I enthralled medical receptionists with the app technology that was basically a picture of my Medicare card and immediate access to me and my family’s immunisation history, with a downloadable and shareable option. It isn’t complex but it is convenient, there are other features too but go download it and see for yourself…

Why am I advocating the Medicare app you ask? Well, I now I realise on the back of a bungled vaccination rollout for Australia and only 4% of the population fully vaccinated, the possibility of a vaccine passport could be the only way Australians start to enjoy travel freedoms and allow for the safety of recipient destinations. Proving immunisation to schools, GPs and countries that ask is technology that is already available.

A vaccine passport is not unlike the Federal Government’s, “no jab, no play” that ensures that kids that attend childcare are immunised for common and preventable diseases. If a vaccine passport was implemented well it would encourage most Australians to get the Covid-19 vaccine and we need the majority of Australians vaccinated for herd immunity to work effectively.

Discovered in the News Medical Life Sciences website was an article detailing how a vaccine passport might work. The Cyber Security Innovation Research Centre (CSI) at Aston University in England is addressing the design aspects of a vaccine passport as a tie-in to a digital identity for world citizens.

The visiting professor leading the project is a cybersecurity expert and is attempting to solve the issues that other leading organisations, such as the World Health Organisation have faced, of “private data protection and counterfeit prevention”. The CSI plans to use multiple authentication such as fingerprint, voice and face recognition software that will make it near impossible for hackers to infiltrate and allow for instant retrieval and current information relating to identification.

They are looking to create a system that is recognised worldwide and is in partnership with the UK trusted digital identity framework that was published in February 2021. Ultimately, the information can be accessed by individuals to retrieve personal data that can be used as evidence for loan applications or immunisation history. The digital vaccine passport is already in use in 14 EU countries and international uptake is inevitable.

My immunisation status has been updated on the Medicare app to include my recent COVID-19 Pfizer vaccination, instilling some confidence that domestic and international travel is on the horizon.

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