Tall Group urges use of proven tech for Vaccine Passports

Jo Francis
Thursday, March 18, 2021

With the EU poised to roll out its Digital Green Certificate to allow safe movement in the bloc during the Covid-19 pandemic, Tall Group has called on governments to consider the use of existing security printing techniques to create a universal solution for so-called Vaccination Passports.

EU released proposals for its Digital Green Certificate this week
EU released proposals for its Digital Green Certificate this week

Yesterday (17 March) the EU outlined details of how its Digital Green Certificate would work across EU member states. 

The temporary scheme, designed to “facilitate safe free movement inside the EU during the Covid-19 pandemic”, will be available digitally or on paper and will also be open for Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland – but not the UK. It includes a QR code containing the necessary data, and a digital signature. 

However, Martin Ruda, group managing director at the Runcorn-headquartered Tall Group of companies, pointed out that the technology required for a “strong physical solution” already exists. 

He said that any Universal Vaccination Passport would need to have a digital and physical element in order to be fully accessible, so that it could be used by “everyone, everywhere”.

“Existing solutions being put forward all rely on countries having digitised medical records, which many do not, and require the vaccine certificate to be accessed on a smart phone that not everyone has,” he stated. 

“Little thought has gone into having a secure physical document beyond the use of a QR code which will work equally well, if robustly encrypted, on a secure document as well as a mobile phone screen. A successful solution will need to provide secure connectivity to a tangible, and universally accepted, document that is verified against the core authorities’ data, in our case the NHS.”

Ruda said that secure printing solutions would also combat concerns over fraudulent documentation. 

In February the BBC reported on Europol’s findings that criminals were already selling fake test certificates. 

Last summer De La Rue said that its brand protection and authentication technology could also be used as a straightforward way of certifying people that have Covid-19 immunity or have been vaccinated. At the time De La Rue said the technology could be deployed “quite quickly”.

In November the PLC said it was in “early discussions” with several governments about Covid-19 immunity certification schemes. 

The travel industry is understandably keen for schemes that will smooth international travel to be put in place. 

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, Andrew Flintham, UK and Ireland managing director at travel giant TUI, said: “What we clearly need as an industry, and certainly as TUI, is the most inclusive travel that we can have. 

“A certification of travel that includes the vaccine is absolutely key. But it also includes people holding data around their tests, and those tests clearly need to be cheap and available.”

He called for the implementation of an easy, digital- and paper-based solution “that allows people to get through borders easily”.

“ There’s clearly still a digital divide. Some people are very digital some people are less so, but from an operations and a broader perspective, the more automated you can make it the better it will be,” he said. 

Tall Group’s Ruda said the firm and its partners had the necessary know-how to solve the issues around “interoperability, integration and absolute trust in the digital source”.

“As a result we are hoping to get a place at the table to discuss this with UK government and urge them not to try and reinvent the wheel. We have developed the necessary technology and it is tried and tested!” Ruda stated. 

The UK government has called for input about the potential use of Covid-status certification on a wider basis, for example in the reopening of the economy, as part of its ‘Covid-19 Response - Spring 2021’.

 

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