The World Economic Forum (WEF) has outlined their objectives in the establishment of a Vaccine Passport System to be established and governed by the World Health Organization (WHO).
They specify the following key points. Firstly, a vaccine passport or e-certification of compliance for border crossing regulations could be required to enable seamless border crossing. Secondly, that any framework that comes into place will need to be harmonized by a normative body - such as the WHO.
The European Commission has announced plans for a digital certificate for travel, which would cover anyone vaccinated against COVID-19 or those who have had a negative test or have recently recovered. Its proposed Digital Green Certificate will facilitate safe free movement inside the EU during the pandemic.
In the US, Canada and in Costa Rica, they are using a COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card. The card includes the name of the individual, the date and type of vaccination received.
Here in Costa Rica, Health Minister Gustavo Segura recently announced that beginning August 1st, 2021, those who can show proof of being fully vaccinated and those under 18 years of age will no longer be required to obtain medical insurance prior to their arrival in Costa Rica. The accepted vaccines will be: Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.
Fully vaccinated individuals must show proof of having received their final dose at least 14 days prior to their arrival.
For those who are not vacinated and 18 or over, they will still be required to purchase mandatory travel insurance that covers lodging in the event of quarantine as well as medical expenses should the contract COVID-19 while in the country. Foreigners with temporary or permanent residence,who return to Costa Rica, and who are not up to date with the corresponding payments with the Costa Rican Social Security Fund, must acquire a temporary local insurance for 22 days or an international insurance that complies with the same requirements that are applied to a foreign tourist.
Of course managing the various types of vaccine verification cards becomes an issue at some point, especially when some countries are instituting various digital formats as in China and Japan. The UK is also planning for a digital app to demonstrate proof.
The WEF has expected this outcome and has been planning the implementation of a standard format, controlled not by individaual countries, but by a centralized body to determine standards and practices.
Arnaud Bernaert, Head of Shaping the Future of Health and Healthcare at the World Economic Forum, explains why the WHO’s framework must be the global standard.
We at the Forum have no preference when it comes to who is running the certification algorithm, we simply want to promote a unique set of registries to avoid unnecessary replication efforts. This is where we support the Common Trust Framework.
Rather than building a set of rules that would be left to the interpretation of member states or private-sector operators like cruises, airlines or conveners of gatherings, we support the WHO’s effort to create a standard for member states for requesting vaccinations and how it would permit the various kinds of use cases.
It is important that we rely on the normative body (the WHO) to create the vaccine credential requirements.
The WEF has represention on the WHO taskforce directing their policy and founded the Common Trust Network which is working on the standards.
While establishing standards may be desirable in the short term, in effect all participating countries give up control over policy. Border control being the first and most obvious, as an outside body under the WHO would establish the guidelines.
One must also consider that by adopting the WHO regulation standards, they include which laboratories can do the testing, what the tests are, and how they are interpreted, not just for Covid but for other global health concerns that may arise.
In the US several States, including Florida have outright banned the use of Covid passports. They are not willing to give up more rights to any global organization.
While it may seem beneficial for Costa Rica to implement a selective strategy of allowing "vaccinated" individuals entry with fewer restrictions on travel, it could lead to more problems down the road. That's exactly what the WEF is counting on.
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