Are NFTs the Future of Vaccine Passports?

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The rollout of vaccine passports has been chaotic as to be expected. In Canada, since health care is not a federal responsibility, each province has done something a little differently leaving many people asking questions. Can you go to a movie without a vaccine passport? How about your local gym? And what happens when I cross the border?

The rollout of vaccine passports has been chaotic as to be expected. In Canada, since health care is not a federal responsibility, each province has done something a little differently leaving many people asking questions. Can you go to a movie without a vaccine passport? How about your local gym? And what happens when I cross the border? 

Having a unified system powered by NFT technology could be the answer to the vaccine passport’s problems. If each person was assigned an NFT with a unique identifier that tracked their vaccine status, it could become a universal system that any jurisdiction across the world could use to verify a person’s vaccination status. 

Digitized Vaccine Passports

Vaccine passports are a system that allows people to show whether they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or not. The passport is used for traveling abroad as well as granting access to venues such as restaurants, bars, movie theatres, and gyms. 

Apart from Canada, South Korea, the European Union, and Israel have all issued some type of vaccine passport. 

With all sorts of things associated with NFTs, it wouldn’t be a big surprise if blockchain technology was introduced to identify and track vaccinated people. 

A vaccine passport, now enforced across most Canadian provinces, is proof that a person has had at least one COVID shot. It has been issued in most countries when a vaccine is given and serves as proof against the spread of diseases. At the moment, most vaccine passports require a user to download an image with a QR code to verify a person’s identity. 

One of the major problems that will plague vaccine passports is how easy it is for them to get hacked, copied, and tampered with, raising serious privacy and security concerns. There's not enough data on hacks and data tampering, although it seems most reports of such are in developing countries.  

But with NFTs, vaccine passports are sure to have an impenetrable data trail that is extremely difficult to alter or manipulate. NFTs work by assigning unique identifiers to each piece of information they contain, meaning if you change one bit of information on the NFT, its whole purpose is nullified. 

These NFT-based passports will be much more secure since it is nearly impossible to fake data on a blockchain ledger so a user’s information can be stored securely. 

With an NFT based passport, the government will issue a vaccination certificate that includes a private key individual to the user. At the same time, a public key is stored in the blockchain. If the user presents the vaccination certificate as a QR code in an app, the verification agency can scan the QR code to check the minimum information related to vaccination. 

San Marino Takes the Lead

The small state of San Marino recently made headlines when its government announced the integration of blockchain technology to issue digitized COVID-19 vaccine passports. 

The passports come in the form of NFTs, which officially makes them a digital asset. The NFT vaccine passport is equipped with two QR codes designed to verify the owner's vaccination record.

San Marino opted to store the digital assets in the VeChain blockchain ledger with the hope of affording a more secure and unyielding proof of vaccination to its holder. 

A Validation of Something Priceless

The blockchain is beginning to replace traditional systems in many industries, including how countries issue vaccine passports. The way NFTs work by securing crucial information and preventing theft makes it an ideal solution for validating anything of high value, including proof of vaccination.  

In the context of vaccine passports, the NFTs are more secure and less prone to data tampering. They have a unique identifier that's difficult to copy or counterfeit. The blockchain also stores a person's vaccination records in the NFTs, eliminating the need for manual documentation.

The combination of secure technology and transparency can potentially aid countries in saving lives by controlling the spread of disease. It can also help reduce the number of people who still don't trust vaccines despite their usefulness and efficacy over time. 

NFTs As a Gamechanger for Travel Rules and Restrictions

Vaccine passports are a good starting point for the use of NFTs in travel restrictions. There is still much to discover about how blockchain-based identity systems can help improve the way countries control the cross-border movement of people based on vaccination requirements.

A lot of countries already have laws in place as a response to the pandemic, but the number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase. Desperate for more profound solutions, governments are likely to consider integrating NFTs into their vaccine passports for more control over who enters their territory.

The practice of track-and-trace might also be integrated into NFTs for easier compliance with COVID-19 guidelines. This may mean having to scan an NFT QR code at the border authorities' checkpoint for visitors before being allowed to enter a country, much like the quarantine procedures already in place. 

The inclusion of smart contract features in NFTs can also lead to an easier global tracking system of vaccination compliance records while encouraging more people to get vaccinated regardless of their country of origin. 

Vaccination isn't mandatory in most countries, but without a cure for COVID-19, the only way to at least limit the likelihood of spreading the disease is by rewarding those who choose to get vaccinated. This reward comes in the form of vaccination passports. And when this proof of disease immunity is minted into an NFT, it could very well convince the vaccine skeptics to finally get a shot. 

There's still a long way to go. The blockchain is only as good as the people who use it, so governments and organizations must educate their populace about its benefits. The widespread adoption of NFTs might take years before we see real change. Still, there's no denying that NFTs and blockchain technology will play an instrumental role in boosting public health efforts, not only in the time of a pandemic. 


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