Walmart has signed on to an international effort to establish digital vaccination credentials for people to confirm their COVID-19 vaccination status. The reliant giant announced recently announced that people who get the jab at one of its stores will soon be able to verify their vaccination status at schools, airports, and other public places using a mobile app.
There have been growing calls to introduce a digital health credential. Companies backing this initiative include Oracle, Microsoft, Cerner, Salesforce, the Mitre Corporation, Epic Systems, and the Mayo Clinic.
Among them, a group of leading airlines, Lufthansa, JetBlue, and United, will be launching CommonPass, a health passport app that will be used to verify passengers’ COVID-19 test results. The app will later be improved to verify passenger vaccination results.
This is the latest major step in efforts to have digital Covid-19 credentials, which is likely to extend to other institutions like entertainment joints, schools, and workplaces.
Efforts to introduce digital vaccination credentials could have a turnaround effect in the fight against the pandemic as several installations will step screening and vaccination efforts. It could lead to even a faster reopening of the economy, install consumer confidence, peace of mind, and improve consumption.
By opening up public places like retail stores, entertainment places, and schools.
The question of equality
Even before its launch, the app has run into muddy waters, with opponents saying it could lock out many people from accessing crucial services. Since the launch of the vaccination campaign, questions have emerged regarding equality of access to the vaccine. For instance, rich countries like the U.S are already talking of plans to dispose of surplus vaccines when several nations in Africa and South America are yet to receive a single jab.
Civil societies also urge the app and others in the pipeline could be instruments for social surveillance and control, especially in communist countries like China.
Walmart says people who get the vaccines at any of its stores will be able to verify their COVID-19 negative results and vaccination status using the free health passport app. The app will also generate codes that will allow the holder to enter sports arena and board planes.