Thousands of British people are reportedly set to be offered ‘vaccine passports’ as part of an upcoming trial.
This passport, from biometrics firm iProov and cybersecurity firm Mvine, will reportedly be issued as a free app which will show whether users have had a coronavirus vaccine.
Users will be able to use the app as means of proving that they have had their first or second jab, or to show that they have not yet had any jab at all.
As per the Telegraph, although the Department of Health had stated there are ‘no plans’ to introduce vaccine passports, Government science and research funding agency Innovate UK has so far invested £75,000 into the project.
Mvine director Frank Joshi has reportedly stated that the agency, which began work on the passports as a means of demonstrating test results, was later able to acquire additional funding to make the switch to vaccination passporting.
It’s expected that this trial will show how the passports could be used to assist the NHS in keeping track of how many people have received their first or second vaccine.
iProov boss Andrew Bud told the Telegraph:
We’re talking about a piece of remarkable technology that can be brought to bear and can be readily integrated with the NHS.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health reportedly stated:
As large numbers of people from at risk groups are vaccinated, we will be able to gather the evidence to prove the impact on infection rates, hospitalisation and reduced deaths. If successful, this should in time lead to a reassessment of current restrictions.
It is believed that a trial of this app will not take place until March, and the locations where it will take place have yet to be decided. The trial will be reportedly overseen by two public health directors from local authorities.
This report comes as the Ada Lovelace Institute launches an evidence review to establish recommendations and open questions regarding ‘the practical and ethical issues around digital vaccine passports and health status apps’.
Professor of Health Care Law at University College London and Chair of Oxford University Hospitals NHSFT, Sir Jonathan Montgomery, said:
The case for a vaccine certification regime can be readily grasped.
A regime in which there is clarity about risk an individual faces or poses should better enable individuals, families, public services, companies and employers to manage that risk better, striking a more equitable balance between universal restrictions and individual liberty and at a macro level improving societal and economic outcomes.
It’s thought that vaccine passports could also help to support the struggling travel industry, with many airlines reported to be already developing health certification programmes.
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