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Specifications for NZ COVID pass published

Namibia launches Africa CDC system
Specifications for NZ COVID pass published

New Zealand has published specs for its COVID-19 domestic-use vaccine pass and its verifier. The news comes as worldwide cases of the pandemic disease hit 250 million.

The government’s Ministry of Health’s My Vaccine Pass confirms the bearer’s vaccination status for entry into situations within the country that require shots. Officials are planning another pass for international travel.

New Zealand, a Pacific Island nation, has avoided most of COVID’s true horrors through societal cohesion and unapologetic quarantines. Digital health passes are expected to allow a more-rapid return to normalcy by segregating in close quarters and large gatherings people who are not protected from those who are vaccinated.

The domestic pass, created by digital trust vendor Mattr, is a QR code that can be sent online, displayed by printing it as a PDF shown on a phone’s screen.

The international travel version also will be a QR code. The specs standardize what data is in the code, the systems that do the encoding and how readers interpret and process the code.

Specifications for a free verification app also have been published.

The United Kingdom already has a COVID pass for use at attractions that pull in many people, such as restaurants. Earlier this month, UK officials and European Union leaders crafted a deal through which both bodies can verify the COVID status of each other’s citizens.

Namibia has launched the African Union and Africa Centers for Disease Control Trusted Travel System for COVID test and vaccination verification, the Namibia Economist reports. The system will be operational from November 15 at ports of entry, and support the mandatory sharing of PCR test results as of December 1.

Namibia’s Health Minister Dr. Kalumbi Shangula said the paper-based system that has been used in the country has proven both slow and ineffective for ascertaining the authenticity of test the data presented.

At the same time, health passes are becoming politicized (for example in the United States) and are being attacked by workers.

IBM is among the vendors offering digital health passes. Another vendor, Clear, has a digital health pass platform. The company’s Health Pass has been integrated with Apple’s Health app.

It is increasingly common (and utterly understandable) for health passes to come under government scrutiny. Clear, in fact, has faced calls in the United States to disclose how biometric information of customers is protected and used.

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