In a bid to bolster international travel once the COVID-19 pandemic recovers, the Malaysian and Singaporean governments have taken a proactive step for the future. This came about after the announcement that they will be using blockchain technology in the management of the digital certifications for COVID-19 vaccine receivers.
Better operability and traceability
According to the Malaysian Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, the digital vaccination certificates will be secured using blockchain technology. He said this during the recent meeting with the Foreign Minister of Singapore, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan in May 2021. With this platform, one can trace the exact batch of the vaccine used and administered to the person.
Moving across borders in the future
Khairy said that such a move took into account the standards set by major authorities such as the WHO (World Health Organisation), the IATA (International Air Transport Association) and others. With the interoperability feature, it is then possible that the digital certification systems can be used in both countries and possibly more in the future. This was discussed on the possibility of opening up the borders and any best practices in the national immunization efforts and will surely change the traveling industry in the near future.
More digital evidence needed
Meanwhile, there have been calls for an ‘immunity test certificate’ which shows proof that the person is protected. This is in addition to the digital vaccine passport that a person possesses after getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
This call came from Datuk Dr Nick Boden, the CEO of Immunitee who said that COVID-19 has a highly infectious nature and is known to mutate. Hence, there is a need for further proof of protection that should not be on paper (like other diseases such as yellow fever).
Immunitee is a vaccine registry management system that runs on blockchain technology. Dr Boden added that a neutralizing antibody test for those who are fully vaccinated would be needed. This came after a spokeswoman of the WHO stated that it hoped that the vaccination passport does not become a requirement for entry or exit between borders as there are still countries that might lack access. Immunitee completed its first passenger verification using a blockchain-based electronic COVID-19 swab test digital result in April 2021.