The World Health Organization (WHO) released guidance this week for countries and tech companies on developing a digital certificate for COVID-19 vaccination status. The document is titled Digital Documentation of COVID-19 Certificates: Vaccination Status (Technical Specifications and Implementation Guidance).
The overview of the document states that it is a "guidance document for countries and implementing partners on the technical requirements for developing digital information systems for issuing standards-based interoperable digital certificates for COVID-19 vaccination status, and considerations for implementation of such systems, for the purposes of continuity of care, and proof of vaccination."
The document has received much critique due to the listed funding bodies.
Among contributors including WHO officials, the World Bank and several universities, there are other notable monetary supporters that include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Government of Estonia, the State of Kuwait and the Rockefeller Foundation.
The WHO document discusses the use of both a digital pass as well as a printed or card version of a barcode for scanning users' medical documentation. It also describes possible use for a long-term "solution":
"Deploy a [passport] solution to address the immediate needs of the pandemic but also to build digital health infrastructure that can be a foundation for digital vaccination certificates beyond COVID-19 (e.g. digital home-based records for childhood immunizations) and support other digital health initiatives."
The document continues: "However, it is critical for Member States to determine whether their [passport] is intended only to be in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, or if it is intended to be a sustainable solution that can address other existing health systems challenges and future pandemics."