Google integrates support for the COVID-19 vaccine passport into Android with the Passes API update • The Register

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Android will soon have the ability to save and view evidence of Covid-19 vaccination, Google said.

The ad search giant has confirmed that an update to its Passports API will allow authorized public health authorities and medical organizations to create a digital vaccination record that can then be saved on a user’s smartphone.

Google plans to roll out the feature in the US first before rolling it out in other areas. There has been no clarity as to which countries are next in line, so it is probably not a good idea to tear up your paper vaccination card right now.

These records are stored locally on the user’s device, Google announced. As with the Contact Tracing API, the feature will support devices running Android versions 5.0 or later Lollipop. The Google Pay app, which is often used to show tickets and boarding passes, is not required.

So far, Apple has not released an equivalent feature to iOS, although this wasn’t a major problem as many third-party apps play the role of a vaccination record. In the UK, the National Health Service’s official app can be used to provide evidence of vaccination, and similar apps are being rolled out across the continent.

Although many may be reluctant to think of vaccination cards, which they consider inherently compulsory, they are likely to become an inevitable part of our post-COVID-19 lives. The Irish government is considering asking for proof of vaccination to sit in the doors of a pub or restaurant, a move that has been criticized by Sinn Fein as discriminatory against young people standing at the end of the queue for the sting.

Regardless of this, vaccine passports are viewed by the aviation industry – especially the IATA industry organization – as a way to resume international tourism and business travel.

A digital system controlled by healthcare providers also helps reduce the risk of fraud. A booming industry for fake vaccination cards has emerged in the past few months. Conversely, creating a system where the records themselves are digitally stored and created by healthcare would likely prove much more resilient, but would not be resilient. ®



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