Denmark to introduce digital coronavirus passports
On 3 February, Denmark's acting finance minister Morten Bødskov together with Lars Sandahl Sørensen, the CEO of Danish Industry and Brian Mikkelsen, the CEO of the Danish Chamber of Commerce, confirmed that a coronavirus passport will be launched in simple form by the end of February.
The coronavirus digital passport is documentation proving that you have been vaccinated against COVID-19. The news comes as neighbouring country Sweden will demand a negative test result from visiting foreigners as COVID-19 variant cases surge.
The simple solution passport will be launched on Danish digital health portal, sundhed.dk and will initially be available to business travellers.
Claus Duedal Pedersen, director of the sentinel unit, sundhed.dk told Healthcare IT News: "In Denmark, it has been decided to implement a COVID-19 vaccination passport in a very short time frame. The solution will be based on the existing national infrastructure and the national vaccination database. It is the plan to develop a solution in a public-private partnership."
Although Denmark is working on having a simple solution ready by the end of the month, the aim is to have a more complete technological solution in three to four months.
WHY IT MATTERS
With a population of 5.8 million people, Denmark weathered the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis with a relatively low rate of infection and death. The Scandinavian country experienced an all-time high surge in new COVID-19 cases in December however, after introducing its second lockdown in January, the number of cases have significantly dropped.
The Danish government hopes the passport can be the first step returning to normality and help ease restrictions on public life. Described by Bødskov as "extra security" for reopening Denmark, the government hopes to specifically assist the business community that needs to travel.
Bødskov added that the passport will help business travellers when they travel and meet face-to-face with their associates.
THE LARGER CONTEXT
In January, Denmark's vaccine efforts were commended for leading the way in the European Union, having vaccinated the highest percentage of its population. The Danish Health Authority expects all priority groups, which include the elderly and frontline workers, to be vaccinated by April and to offer vaccinations to the rest of the population soon after.
In related news, recommendations by government advisory bodies in France, Germany, Italy and Sweden advised that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine should be prioritised for people younger than 65, while Poland set its threshold at 60.
Sweden hopes to have the infrastructure to issue digital passports by June. “With a digital vaccine certificate it will be quick and easy to prove a completed vaccination,” said Anders Ygeman, Sweden's minister for digital developments.
On 2 February, Estonia said it will allow passengers arriving into the country with proof of COVID-19 vaccination to avoid quarantining.
Last year, a HIMSS Nordic Community webinar addressed how Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Sweden and Norway have enabled a sustainable human-centred health environment that influenced their crisis management during the pandemic.
ON THE RECORD
At the press conference, Bødskov explained: "Denmark is still hard hit by the corona pandemic but there are parts of Danish society that need to move forward, and a business community that needs to be able to travel. That is why I am pleased to be able to present this new partnership.
"In the meantime, it must be discussed how the corona pass can be used in practice. It will depend on how the infection situation is at that time.
"It will be the extra passport that you will be able to have on your mobile phone, which documents that you have been vaccinated. It is about us as a country taking advantage of the technological advantages we have. We can be among the first in the world to have it and can show it to the rest of the world."