In news : According to a new study so-called “immunity passport” apps are starting to look more and more like a reality, but new research suggests they could be dangerous.
What does the study say?
- As per a new report from security research company Top10VPN, immunity passport apps which tout themselves as enabling users to travel internationally, or go into their office or school are riddled with privacy flaws and pose big ethical problems.
- The report surveyed 65 digital health certificate apps currently in operation around the world, and found 82% had inadequate privacy policies
What is an immunity passport?
- Across the WHO, countries are considering the use of ‘immunity passports.’ These are handed out to those who have recovered from COVID-19 for the purpose of travel.
- Immunity passports are also known as ‘risk-free certificates.’
- Immunity certificates are a legal document granted by a testing authority following a serology test demonstrating that the bearer has antibodies making them immune to a disease.
- These antibodies can either be produced naturally by recovering from the disease, or triggered through vaccination
- Such certificates are practical only if all of the following conditions can be satisfied:
- Recovered patients have protective immunity that prevents them from being reinfected
- The protective immunity is long-lasting
- The pathogen mutates sufficiently slowly for immunity to work against most strains
- Immunity tests have low false-positive rates
- If reliable immunity certificates were available, they could be used to exempt holders from quarantine and social distancing restrictions, permitting them to work (including high-risk occupations such as medical care) and travel.
WHO on Immunity Passports
- According to the World Health Organisation, use of such certificates could lead to the risk of continued transmission.
- The World Health Organization had published guidance on adjusting public health and social measures for the next phase of the COVID-19 response.
- Some governments had suggested that the detection of antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, could serve as the basis for an “immunity passport” or “risk-free certificate” that would enable individuals to travel or to return to work assuming that they are protected against re-infection.
Denmark’s Vaccine Passport
- Denmark is developing a digital “vaccine passport” for people who have received a COVID-19 vaccine, a move that may enable them to travel to countries where such documentation is required during the pandemic.
- It is expected that there may be requirements from other countries to present vaccine documentation upon entry.
Israel’s green Passports
In January 2021, Israel announced that all Israelis who have received their second vaccination as well as all who have recovered from infection will be eligible for a “green passport” that will exempt them from isolation requirements and mandatory COVID-19 tests, including those on arrival from overseas.The passport will be valid for 6 months