QR codes for health passports can facilitate an effective vaccination drive, maintain vaccine inventory, generate test reports and vaccination status for a world dealing with a pandemic.
Regardless of where they stand on development measures, countries worldwide have been adversely affected in the wake of COVID-19. While the first half of 2020 witnessed various governments dealing with essential services like food and security, much anticipation revolved around developing a permanent solution- the vaccine.
Now we have the vaccine, but executing the vaccination drive is way more challenging. The key is in centralizing the supply with real-time updates of inventory, vaccine status, patient record and movement.
But how can this be achieved?
Application of Vaccination QR Codes for Health Passports
- QR Codes can be embedded on vaccination vials to verify authenticity or brand (some countries have more than one), track the supply chain and inventory. According to WHO guidelines, the secondary packaging of vaccine vials must have electronic information scanned through a QR code of the label and other information not printed on the packaging. This may include the date of manufacturing and expiry, batch number and temperature requirement. Incorporating training and warehousing details in the QR code would also help in easing the manual labor requirement.
- Government authorities or individuals can print health QR codes on vital documents like passports and other passes to ensure that the person travelling has been vaccinated and is free from the Coronavirus.
- Centralized (nationalized) website and mobile application can gather data from authorities and citizens regarding vaccines and covid status of individuals.
- The QR code on health passports could also act as a vaccine information system for other vaccinations as some countries do not issue identification until adulthood is attained. In such cases, the health passport can be linked with birth certificates and have other vaccines under the Universal Immunisation Programme, administered to infants like BCG, OPV, Hepatitis, Pentavalent, Measles, RVV, DPT, etc.
Chimp recommends an ideal scenario
Each country has a unique identification process for its citizens. For instance, the US has a social security number; the UK has National Insurance Number and India has an Aadhaar number. Let’s imagine that each citizen has a unique QR code associated with his identification number on the health passport or the respective ID. There can be an integrated website and mobile application tracking the citizens’ COVID-19 and vaccination status. The portals incorporate data from hospitals and test laboratories to update information if a citizen has tested positive, has received the first or second dose of the vaccine, and so on.
Now, most countries are rolling out vaccines in order of age, in addition to prioritizing comorbid patients. So the QR code of a citizen also has basic details like name, age, identity number, gender, covid vaccine status and medical history like recent surgeries or conditions. By scanning the person’s QR code, the authorities can know if they have ever tested positive, been hospitalized, vaccinated, and the level at which the healthcare body should prioritize him/her to receive the vaccine. The citizen does his/her KYC with relevant reports and prescriptions to back the information provided. Besides, the same QR code on a health passport can be scanned by airlines, public spaces, healthcare centers, or any authority to determine whether the person should be allowed entry/travel or not.
The QR codes for health passports can be digital, ready to be scanned in seconds.
Why can QR codes enable a more effective vaccination drive?
- Government authorities can use QR codes to verify the authenticity of vaccine vials and scale-up traceability while maintaining international standard regulations.
- It is an affordable way of gathering vital information like supply and registration as no additional devices are required to scan a QR code.
- The information offered at the scan of a QR code is the most intelligent way to educate front-line workers for identification, sterilization, regulations, batch number and precautions.