Tag: Certificates

WHO looks at possible ‘e-vaccination certificates’ for travel

ZURICH/GENEVA (Reuters) – The World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend countries issuing “immunity passports” for those who have recovered from COVID-19, but is looking at prospects of deploying e-vaccination certificates like those it is developing with Estonia.

FILE PHOTO: A passenger walks past a testing centre sign in the terminal building of Manchester Airport amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Manchester, Britain, December 3, 2020. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo

Estonia and the United Nations health agency in October started a pilot project for a digital vaccine certificate – a “smart yellow card” – for eventual use in interoperable healthcare data tracking and to strengthen the WHO-backed COVAX initiative to boost vaccinations in developing countries.

The reality of vaccinations is growing, since Britain on Wednesday approved a COVID-19 shot from Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech, while other companies Moderna and AstraZeneca have delivered positive trial data amid their push for approval.

“We are looking very closely into the use of technology in this COVID-19 response, one of them how we can work with member states toward an e-vaccination certificate,” said Siddhartha Datta, Europe’s WHO programme manager for vaccine-preventable diseases, told reporters on a call from Copenhagen.

He cautioned that any technology initiative must not overwhelm countries in the midst of pandemic responses, must conform to varying laws and ensure seamless border-crossing service.

For instance, some national COVID-19 tracing apps do not function abroad.

Estonia earlier this year separately began testing a “digital immunity passport”, potentially to track those recovered from COVID-19 with some immunity, though questions remain over whether, or for how long, someone might by protected.

But another WHO official, Catherine Smallwood, the WHO’s Senior Emergency Officer for Europe, on Thursday said the agency is sticking to guidance against using immunity passports as part of bids to resume some cross-border travel normalcy.

“We do not recommend immunity passports, nor do we recommend testing as a means to prevent transmission across borders,” Smallwood said, urging countries instead to base travel guidance on COVID-19 transmission data.

Smallwood also said rapid antigen tests, in use by some airlines to test passengers boarding or getting off flights, may be “less appropriate” for enabling international travel. The antigen tests are less accurate than molecular PCR tests, so some people might slip through the cracks.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay and John Miller; Editing by Alex Richardson and Nick Macfie

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Coronavirus live news: Iran passes 1m Covid-19 cases; WHO looks at possible ‘e-vaccination certificates’ for travel | World news

The information technology company said in a blog post published on Thursday that it had uncovered “a global phishing campaign” focused on organisations associated with the Covid-19 vaccine “cold chain” – the process needed to keep vaccine doses at extremely cold temperatures as they travel from manufacturers to people’s arms.

The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency reposted the report, warning members of Operation Warp Speed – the US government’s national vaccine mission – to be on the lookout.

Understanding how to build a secure cold chain is fundamental to distributing vaccines developed by the likes of Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE because the shots need to be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius (-94 F) or below to avoid spoiling.

IBM’s cybersecurity unit said it had detected an advanced group of hackers working to gather information about different aspects of the cold chain, using meticulously crafted booby-trapped emails sent in the name of an executive with Haier Biomedical, a Chinese cold chain provider that specializes in vaccine transport and biological sample storage.

The hackers went through “an exceptional amount of effort,” said IBM analyst Claire Zaboeva, who helped draft the report. Hackers researched the correct make, model, and pricing of various Haier refrigeration units, Zaboeva said.

“Whoever put together this campaign was intimately aware of whatever products were involved in the supply chain to deliver a vaccine for a global pandemic,” she said.

Haier Medical did not return messages seeking comment. Messages sent to the email addresses used by the hackers were not returned.

IBM said the bogus Haier emails were sent to around 10 different organizations but only identified one target by name: the European commission’s directorate-general for taxation and customs union, which handles tax and customs issues across the EU and has helped set rules on the import of vaccines.

Representatives for the directorate-general could not immediately be reached for comment.

IBM said other targets included companies involved in the manufacture of solar panels, which are used to power vaccine refrigerators in warm countries, and petrochemical products that could be used to derive dry ice.

Who is behind the vaccine supply chain espionage campaign isn’t clear. IBM’s Zaboeva said there was no shortage of potential suspects. Figuring out how to swiftly distribute an economy-saving vaccine “should be topping the lists of nation states across the world,” she said.

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Military Vacation Deals Travel Certificates

What is a Resort Vacation Certificate?

A Resort Vacation Certificate is a voucher for a 7 night vacation stay, which you
can purchase for a friend or family member for USD$409.00*. When you purchase a Resort Vacation Certificate, it can be sent to you or directly
to the recipient. This program is unique from R&R and other inventory found on the
Armed Forces Vacation Club site.

How does a recipient use the Resort Vacation Certificate; Upgrade options?

The Resort Vacation Certificate will direct the recipient to a website where they
can browse all available inventory. In addition to eligible resorts, at the time of
redemption there is an option to upgrade to include additional dates, unit sizes and/or
destinations for an additional fee, except where prohibited by law. Upgrade fees typically
range between USD$240 to USD$1,400 for 7 nights depending on the accommodation and
date selected. The upgrade fee is the fee for the entire week (7 nights), not per
night or per person.

When does the certificate have to be redeemed?

The recipient has 12 months from date of purchase to redeem their Resort Vacation
Certificate, which is reflected as the “Expiration” date printed on the Resort Vacation
Certificate.

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