Microsoft, one of the biggest technology firms in the world is teaming up with other big tech companies to ensure life returns to ‘normal’ in the shortest possible time. But not the ‘normal’ like we used to know.
The tech giant, founded by billionaire philanthropist, Bill Gates is working with others like Oracle, Salesforce, Cerner, Cigna’s Evernorth, health care software firm Epic and the Mayo Clinic, among others to form a coalition called the Vaccine Credential Initiative.
The Coalition wants to ensure every human on earth has a digitally secured record of their Covid vaccination that is storable on their digital phones- for a start- and which can be used to access public places. The digital Covid Passport will also be needed if you are travelling.
The Coronavirus vaccination rolled out early this year with some millions already given the jab but mostly in the first world. There is still a large scale of scepticism about the vaccines in various parts of Africa with about one in five people interviewed in Nigeria saying they would not be disposed to taking it is made mandatory.
However, in the United States, many entities are already calling for a compulsory vaccination before the return to normal. Bill Gates early in the pandemic had said there would be no return to normal until everyone is vaccinated for Covid.
“A secure, convenient solution to verify Covid-19 vaccination will play an important role in accelerating a healthy and safe return to work, school and life in general,” said Joan Harvey, president of care solutions at Evernorth, Cigna’s health services business.
Nigeria is not new to vaccination and has recently been declared polio free after it successfully persuaded parents in the predominantly Muslim communities in the north, through the regions Traditional and Religious leadership to take the polio vaccines.
But Covid would be different for a number of reasons. If proof of vaccination would be the requirement for access into public spaces, then it would be expedient that such proof be carried in a convenient way which include a passport like method, inserted into the body like a chip.
“It’s not just for health care purposes that you will need this health data, now you are going to need either your lab results or vaccination data to get on an airplane, to go to school, go to work — real life, non-health-care use cases. And it needs to be in a standard form so when you’re presenting it, people actually understand, ‘Oh, it was the Pfizer vaccine that you got,” Paul Meyer, CEO of nonprofit The Commons Project, told the media.
A hidden Agenda?
Many Nigerians have suspected the big tech companies of nurturing a hidden agenda in their COVID -19 vaccination crusade. There are many who fears the big tech companies are determined to extract information and track everyone using covid vaccination as cover.
But the tech companies themselves said they are only willing to play a vital role in ensuring there is a widespread compliance to the vaccination and to tract and verify those who have taken the vaccine in order to prevent further outbreaks.
“That’s why it’s exciting to have partners like Epic and Cerner and Oracle and Microsoft that are the tech platforms that power, if you will, so much of health care,” Meyer said.