2.3 Billion Digital COVID Certificates Issued
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Commission (EC) recently confirmed the launching of a digital health partnership that will help protect people from ongoing and future health threats, including pandemics.
The WHO's first use case is the convergence of existing digital COVID-19 certificates.
The WHO took up the EU system of digital COVID-19 certification that has already issued about 2.3 billion certificates.
The EU certificate facilitated safe travel for citizens across the European Union when Member States restricted travel on public health grounds.
Since August 2022, there have been no intra-EU travel restrictions.
Additionally, this partnership may include the digitization of the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis, which is currently used by numerous countries to verify yellow fever or polio vaccinations.
As of July 1, 2023, international travelers from fifty-one countries will soon begin accessing the WHO Global Digital Health Certification Network (GDHCN).
The GDHCN's digital capabilities may include verification of vaccinations and prescriptions across borders, the International Patient Summary, verification of vaccination certificates within and across borders, and certification of public health professionals through the WHO Academy.
This capability includes using EU standards and validating digital signatures to prevent fraud.
In doing so, WHO will not have access to any underlying personal data, which would continue to be the exclusive domain of national governments.
These digital capabilities are the building blocks of the WHO GDHCN.
Expanding such digital solutions will be essential to deliver better health for citizens across the globe.
This cooperation is based on the shared values and principles of transparency and openness, inclusiveness, accountability, data protection, privacy, security, scalability at a global level, and equity, says the WHO.
Update: This content was edited for clarity and links on July 5, 2023.