Published in El Pais, 10 April 2021.
With the rollout of vaccines many have discussed the idea of a vaccine passport, essentially a documentation that will allow you to attend sporting events, movie theatres and eventually travel. This will allow vaccinated people to enjoy activities we once did pre COVID with others who are more resistant to the virus while limiting exposure to those who refuse to get vaccinated. Different governments around the world are discussing their own system with some likely to be better than others. The best method to do this however is likely considered by no one unfortunately and that is to put these passports on blockchain.
Those who have read my past articles will know that blockchain is an immutable ledger that is extremely difficult to hack. One only has to look at people fighting health regulations to see how important security really is. Many who refuse to wear a mask for example have been caught creating and distributing fake identification cards which claim they are exempt from needing to wear said mask, it is not much of a reach to assume these same people will attempt something similar for vaccine passports. Fake passports can undermine the whole system and cause many outbreaks if a sick person is able to sneak in.
To continue of my last point, someone will have to check the authenticity of said passports wherever they are needed. Those responsible for determining the authenticity will likely not be sufficiently trained to tell the reals from the fakes. A digital passport on the blockchain can simply be scanned for authenticity, not only eliminating guess work but also speeds up the process, reducing unnecessary exposure through contact and face to face.
In the hopefully unlikely outcome that COVID becomes an endemic (where the disease never fully disappears due to mutated variants and reappears at times similar to the flu) the passport can easily be updated to show which vaccines a person has received.
We are all tired and want things to go back to normal, a proper vaccine passport plan can be an effective tool to end this, utilizing blockchain is the best way to ensure that it happens.