US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — With the vaccination campaign proceeding at an accelerated pace, the issue of “digital vaccination certification” is becoming more and more prominent in the United States, despite the growing political controversy and the incoherent health system that complicates the collection of data in one center.
Asher Vaintrop, 17, was pleased to show Friday the new digital “certificate” of the State of New York that he downloaded to his smartphone, which proves via a QR code that he is immune to Covid-19.
“I think it’s a good thing because we don’t need to show all kinds of documents every time,” he said, showing the testimony at the entrance to one of the first shows staged at home in Manhattan since March 2020.
Encouraged by Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York is now the only state among US states to have voluntarily launched a similar “passport” in cooperation with technology giant ABM. On the contrary, other rulers reject this idea.
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis was the first to sign a decree on Friday that prohibits the state’s administrative agencies from issuing “any unified trust” to prove that a person has received the vaccine against Covid-19, and institutions must oblige their clients to provide evidence of immunization because this “will limit individual freedoms and harm the principle.” Patient confidentiality”.
On Tuesday, Republican Texas governors, Greg Abbott, banned the demanding bodies for evidence of vaccination, while Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania want the same stance. And the governor of Republican South Dakota, Kristi Noem, last week considered the idea “against the principles of America.”
– No federal obligation –
Faced with this debate, the Biden government intends to stay away from this issue. On Tuesday, White House spokeswoman Gene Saki confirmed that “there is no federal obligation to require everyone to obtain a standardized vaccination certificate.” Washington will only issue recommendations to ensure that the developed systems are “fair” and ensure the confidentiality and security of data.
Yet even without federal momentum, few Americans doubt these digital means of certification will develop in a world in which smartphones have become an essential tool of everyday life. Many are watching with interest the “green card” in place in Israel, where the vaccination campaign was very fast.
Some non-governmental projects are making progress. Alongside the New York “certification”, the global “joint certification” project appears to be the most advanced.
This “certification” was launched by the non-profit organization “Commons Project” that specializes in linking digital health data, and this “certificate” is used daily by 12 global airlines, according to its director Paul Mayer.
Unlike New York State’s innovative system, this platform is based on free, non-commercial software.
The platform is “neutral” and “secure” in terms of data protection. In his opinion, it “is emerging as a benchmark” for a sector promising to expand, with the advancement of vaccination and pressure to revive economic activity.
He said that discussions are underway with the European Union – which is working to develop a “green card” that allows free travel in the Schengen space – as well as with several European governments without specifying it.
He added that the application of a digital passport is “simpler” in Europe than in the United States, because government health systems in general in European countries store health data in one location, while the health system is mainly private in the United States and each state has its own health services, and thus it is “disassembled.”
– ‘Freedom back’ –
He acknowledged that American political polarization may impede the development of the common card, but he hopes that the argument for “restoring freedom” – the freedom to travel, watch a baseball game, or go to the theater – that these “cards” will give will prevail.
Marcus Blesha, a medical officer at the Astu Association, which includes health officials from the US states, said that most individuals realize that a vaccination certificate will be useful in some cases, at least, and that “the restrictions will be different if we are vaccinated or not.”
Currently the debate is “premature” with only 20 million Americans getting the vaccine. But he will not be surprised if a certificate of vaccination against Covid-19 is imposed soon in schools and in some private institutions.
“I think that a part of the reservation will be gone when people will realize all the things that they will be able to do when they are vaccinated,” he said.
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