Denmark hopes its new ‘digital corona passport’ will help restart travel

Feb 4, 2021

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Denmark could be one of the first countries to release a digital vaccination card, commonly referred to as an “immunity passport.”

This week, the Danish government shared plans to work with companies to develop a digital tool that could be used to identify people who have already had the COVID-19 vaccine. As the AP reports, Finance Minister Morten Bødskov told reporters that “in three, four months, a digital corona passport will be ready for use in, for example, business travel.”

According to AP, Bødskov described it as a “extra passport that you will be able to have on your mobile phone that documents that you have been vaccinated.”

Related: What the COVID-19 vaccine might mean for your travel plans

The idea of travelers carrying an immunity passport has been around since the early days of the pandemic — Delta CEO Ed Bastian discussed the concept as early as April 2020, just a few weeks after global travel came to a grinding halt.

While vaccinated Americans are currently presented with a record card, pictured above, it’s a simple piece of paper, making it incredibly difficult to authenticate. While travelers have long been able to meet entry requirements in certain countries by presenting a similar “yellow card,” as proof of a yellow fever vaccination, that may not be an ideal solution during the pandemic.

Fraud is a much bigger concern with COVID-19, since the virus is incredibly contagious. Yellow fever only presents a risk to an individual traveling without that vaccine — there’s a very low risk of spreading it to someone else, since it can generally only be transmitted through blood.

Also: These European countries will waive quarantine for vaccinated travelers

Given how easy it is to duplicate the CDC-issued “Vaccination Record Card” currently issued in the United States, we’ll likely need a solution akin to Denmark’s — a government-issued digital ID, or a physical card with a QR code that can be used to verify an active vaccination in a database, since a handwritten card is far too easy to “hack.”

Featured photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images.

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