While others debate digital health passes, the EU has already hit the ground running

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Even as global debates about COVID passports grow heated, digital health certificate programs are launching in the EU.

Seven nations in the bloc have gone live with their portions of the EU’s digital COVID certificate program. The Netherlands is not among the seven, but has announced that the digital health pass will go live in its territorial holdings in the Caribbean will go live June 21.

The seven are Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Greece and Poland.

Certificates are being issued to those fully vaccinated against COVID and those who have tested negative for the coronavirus. Certificate holders can travel anywhere in the alliance.

EU leaders have pledged to make the program available in all 27 member states by July 1.

They will be tying into a cloud system created by T-Systems and SAP, and hosted at a Luxembourg data center.

Introducing certificates will be trickier among the residents of The Netherlands’ Caribbean holdings include Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Maarten.

They do not have the documents that full EU members possess, among them a citizen service number and a digital ID. A platform for displaying COVID credentials reportedly is being discussed.

Nothing nearly as centralized is being considered in the polarized United States. A CNBC report indicates that biometrics firm Clear is pushing its Health Pass by industry niches rather than geographically so far. The Health Pass, according to the report, connects biometric identifiers to a person’s COVID-19-specific medical data.

The program is being used at some sports stadiums. A small number of people who attended the Super Bowl used passes. A third of NBA teams reportedly have signed on, too.

Canada is not as riven on the topic of health passports, but the matter is still being debated.

An article in The Globe and Mail describes ombudsmen across the country advising caution when it comes to requiring proof of vaccination for entry into public services.

Province, territory and federal officials will face complaints unless they build scrupulously fair systems that operate transparently. That warning comes via a report by the Canadian Council of Parliamentary Ombudsman.

Cookie-cutter approaches likely will instill discontent as well, according to the story. There are legitimate reasons some cannot be vaccinated, so provisions need to be anticipated. And where possible exceptions are not foreseen, rapid reviews and appeals must be available.

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