Digital Health Passports: Will They Provide You Comfort?

Digital Health Passports: Will They Provide You Comfort?

Digital Health Passports are viewed by many big players in travel as a key to the rebound. The travel industry is turning over every stone to bring demand back. They want people to feel comfortable traveling again. However, there’s a big problem that Digital Health Passports don’t solve to ensure comfort.

Digital Health Passports?

The technology is to provide a stronger level of assurance of a traveler’s COVID-19 status. Think of a phone app that stores verified COVID-19 lab results and vaccinations. A QR code is generated by the app and scanned by custom’s agents, etc. needing to check your status as you travel or prior to travel.

Introducing CommonPass.

What’s CommonPass?

It’s a project supported by American Express Global Business, Collinson, Cathay, United, and others to utilize Digital Health Passports. Here’s their explanation from the linked site:

“For global travel and trade to return to pre-pandemic levels, travelers will need a secure and verifiable way to document their health status as they travel and cross borders. Countries will need to be able to trust that a traveller’s record of a COVID PCR test or vaccination administered in another country is valid. Countries will also need the flexibility to update their health screening entry requirements as the pandemic evolves and science progresses. Airlines, airports and other travel industry stakeholders will need the same.

Team Skift posted a breakdown of the CommonPass Project if you’d like a deeper dive.

Also, here’s a video created by The Commons Project to inform.

Simply, it’s a Digital Health Passport app for your phone.

What’s The Problem?

I’ve spoken with my most concerned friends and family at length about COVID’s effects and their comfort around others. I asked specifically when they’ll feel comfortable hanging out, going for dinner, getting a hug, or traveling.

I asked them would a drop to near zero new infections in their area help? And, would widespread vaccinations help?

The answer may surprise you. They don’t know.

And, there lies the problem Digital Health Passports don’t solve.

People don’t know when they’ll feel comfortable around others. And, no matter what the travel companies do, it’s likely not going to move the needle that much for those that are most concerned.

Digital Health Passports will help countries feel more comfortable opening their borders more broadly. Which is certainly progress in the right direction.

However, to get masses of people traveling again, it will be a slow process to get them comfortable. We’ve seen this before.

History Knows The Future

This isn’t what the travel industry wants to hear. It took the world many years to move on from the 1918 Pandemic.

There is a misguided belief that because we are so much more advanced in tech and medicine since then that we can move on much faster. The travel industry is banking on it.

By the slow global progress against the virus we are seeing, history is repeating itself. Remember when it was suggested the virus would disappear by summer. Well, that didn’t happen.

The travel industry is doing everything it can to provide comfort that you won’t contract the virus during your journey with them. And, that’s great. Unfortunately, telling someone they can be comfortable doesn’t make them comfortable.


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