But despite recent media coverage, political holds, and new app launches, it’s unclear what the long-term prospects for vaccine credentials might be. In the short term, they could become a kind of nudge for the hesitant, encouraging them to take their photos in order to open doors that would otherwise remain (literally) closed.
“Our intention is to open as many places as possible with the green pass,” said Sharon Alroy-Preis, director of health at the Israeli Ministry of Health, in an interview with Israeli news site Ynet. “The goal is to create safer places and to encourage vaccination.”
But after that? Experts don’t know it yet – and even Israel is still figuring it out. The clearest answer is that, for at least a brief window of time, in some places people may need to prove that they are vaccinated or free from covid. Whether or not these systems remain and what people will feel about them is as difficult to predict as the course of the pandemic.
Even though the future is bleak, Parker says it’s important to take a long-term view: “You’re building a health monitoring tool and standardizing a number of third parties that ask or force individuals to share. Datas. There is a very big question as to how this could evolve. On the other hand, she said, if this is temporary, “do we have the capacity to take it apart?”
Bioethicist Arthur Caplan, founding director of the Division of Medical Ethics at the NYU School of Medicine, said he has seen how standards for vaccinations can change and evolve. He remembers his push to demand medical professionals to get the flu shot and says that after the initial debate the controversy subsided: “Some people said, I don’t do it, I hate it. After about two years of this? Nobody cares. They just do it.
And in any case, ending the pandemic hinges on several factors, not just one type of technology, says Julie Samuels, who helped launch the exposure notification app in New York last year. As with all pandemic-related technologies, she says, “it’s important to think of these things as just a layer of protection… Obviously, the most important thing is to get as many people vaccinated as possible.”
This story is part of the Pandemic technology project, supported by the Rockefeller Foundation.