The World Health Organization (WHO) will make it easier for its member states to introduce digital vaccination certificates in the future
The WHO is setting up a gateway for this purpose. It enables QR codes on electronic vaccination certificates to be checked across national borders. It is intended to serve as a standard procedure for other vaccinations such as polio or yellow fever after COVID-19. The WHO has selected T-Systems as an industry partner to develop the vaccination validation services.
Garrett Mehl, Unit Head, WHO Department of Digital Health and Innovation, said: "COVID-19 affects everyone. Countries will therefore only emerge from the pandemic together. Vaccination certificates that are tamper-proof and digitally verifiable build trust. WHO is therefore supporting member states in building national and regional trust networks and verification technology. The WHO’s gateway service also serves as a bridge between regional systems. It can also be used as part of future vaccination campaigns and home-based records."
Adel Al-Saleh, Member of the Deutsche Telekom AG Board of Management and CEO T-Systems, explained: "Corona has a grip on the world. Digitization keeps the world running. Digital vaccination certificates like the EU’s are key to this. We are pleased to be able to support the WHO in the fight against the pandemic. Health is a strategic growth area for T-Systems. Winning this contract underscores our commitment to the industry."
Data Transparency and General Data Protection Regulation
WHO and T-Systems are focusing on transparency and data protection when building the gateway. The ongoing work on the software is public on the developer platform Github. All program codes can be viewed by the expert community there. Furthermore, the gateway complies to the strict privacy law of the European Union, the General Data Protection Regulation.
The gateway will interact with other parts of the system already developed by WHO. These are also open source and with appropriate copyright licenses. A common security audit with penetration tests is part of the development. This will also give hints for regional and national setups to be followed by the implementers.
T-Systems industry partner in the pandemic
For T-Systems, the WHO contract is familiar territory. The company had already developed the EU gateway for vaccination certificates (DCC, Digital Covid Certificate). More than 60 countries are connected to it today.
T-Systems had previously set up the European Federation Gateway Service (EFGS). The service ensures that member states’ corona tracing apps work across borders.
Telekom and SAP worked closely together on both EU projects. The companies are also industry partners for the German government’s Corona warning app. With more than 43 million downloads, the German app is one of the most successful tracing apps in the world. With many additional functions, such as event check-ins or universal certificate storage, it has earned the reputation of being the Swiss army knife in the pandemic.
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