Brendan McDermid | Reuters

LONDON – A digital Covid vaccination record is being jointly developed by a group of health and technology companies who believe governments, airlines and other companies will soon be asking people to prove they have been vaccinated.

A coalition known as the Vaccination Credential Initiative, which includes Microsoft, Salesforce and Oracle, as well as the nonprofit Mayo Clinic for Healthcare, was revealed on Thursday.

The VCI wants to develop a technology with which individuals can receive an encrypted digital copy of their vaccination data, which can be stored in a digital wallet of their choice such as the Apple Wallet or Google Pay. It has been suggested that anyone without a smartphone can get paper with QR codes that contain verifiable credentials.

The coalition said it will also try to develop new standards to confirm whether or not a person has been vaccinated against the virus. Citizens used to use vaccination books to keep track of their travel vaccines, but authorities rarely ask about them.

“The goal of the Vaccination Credential Initiative is to give individuals digital access to their vaccination records,” said Paul Meyer, CEO of The Commons Project, a coalition member, in a statement.

He added that technology should enable people “to return to travel, work, school and life safely while protecting their privacy”.

Bill Patterson, executive vice president and general manager of enterprise software company Salesforce, said his company aims to help organizations “adapt all aspects of the vaccination management lifecycle and integrate closely with other coalition members’ offerings, which will help us all get back to it.” . ” public life.”

“With a single platform that helps ensure safe, continuous operations and instill customer and employee trust, this coalition will be vital to public health and wellbeing,” added Patterson.

Microsoft did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

Vaccine shares opinion

While many people can’t wait to protect themselves from the virus, some firmly believe they won’t get the sting, so populations will be divided into vaccinated and unvaccinated populations. One in five people in the UK say they are unlikely to receive the vaccine. This is the result of a YouGov study published in November, which gives various reasons.

Millions of people around the world still do not want to be vaccinated, according to opinion polls. Some fear needles, others believe in baseless conspiracy theories, and others are concerned about possible side effects. Others just don’t feel it is necessary to get vaccinated and prefer to risk catching Covid.

Due to the different views, a debate could start in 2021. Should restrictions be placed on people who do not wish to be vaccinated as they can catch and spread the virus?

It’s a touchy subject, but governments are already looking into putting in place systems that will allow authorities and possibly businesses to determine whether or not a person has received a Covid vaccine.

In December, it emerged that Los Angeles County is planning to save Covid vaccine recipients a vaccination record in the Apple Wallet on their iPhone, which can also be used to store tickets and boarding passes in digital form. Officials say it will first be used to remind people to get their second shot of the vaccine, but it could eventually be used to gain access to concert venues or airline flights.

China has launched a health code app that shows whether a person is symptom-free to check into a hotel or use the subway. In Chile, citizens who have recovered from the coronavirus have been issued “virus-free” certificates.

On December 28, Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa said the country would create a register to show who refused to be vaccinated and that the database could be shared across Europe.

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said in April that immunity passes could be used to help airmen feel more secure in their personal safety while traveling.

A Ryanair spokesperson said “Vaccinations are not required when flying Ryanair” when CNBC asked if it would ever prevent unvaccinated people from flying its planes. British Airways, Qantas and easyJet did not respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

Isra Black, professor of law at the University of York, and Lisa Forsberg, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oxford who studies medical ethics, told CNBC that it is “not easy to say whether this is ethical for a state . ” Impose restrictions “on people who refuse a push.

The scientists said in a joint statement via email that the answer will depend on factors such as vaccine supply, vaccination levels in the population, the nature of restrictions on vaccine objectors, and the implementation of the restrictions.

“We might think that there are strong, if not necessarily decisive, reasons for restricting the regaining of freedoms before the pandemic for people who refuse to be vaccinated against Covid-19, for example with regard to their freedom of assembly,” said Black and Forsberg. “There is potential for unvaccinated individuals to contract a serious case of coronavirus that we believe would be bad for them but could also negatively affect others, such as if health resources were diverted from non-covidic care have to.”