Dead batteries and faulty printers don’t have to stand in the way of having a vaccine passport, as one company has found a way to put the information on a microchip that can be implanted under the skin.
The phrase ‘vaccine passport’ has become commonplace following the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent vaccine rollout, with many establishments now requiring that people show proof of vaccination in order to enter.
‘Passports’ can be accessed in the UK through the NHS app, which displays QR codes and information about the number of vaccines received, but tech firm Dsruptive Subdermals came up with a way to eliminate the need to display your phone with its pre-programmed, scannable microchip.
Measuring 2 millimetres by 16 millimetres in size, the chip can be inserted just beneath the skin, ready for people to scan when necessary.
Hannes Sjoblad, managing director of the Swedish start-up, has received the implant and showed it in action in an interview with AFP, demonstrating how scanning the chip brought up a PDF containing the details of his EU Digital COVID Certificate.
The information can indicate that you are vaccinated against COVID-19, or that you have received a negative result after taking a test.
Sjoblad explained: ‘This means it is always accessible for me or for anyone else, really, who wants to read me. For example, if I go to the movies or go to a shopping centre, then people will be able to check my status even if I don’t have my phone.’
The managing director stressed that these are not devices to be afraid of, as he explained they ‘cannot transmit a signal by themselves’.
He said: ‘If you understand how these implants work, they don’t have a battery […] So they are basically passive. They sit there asleep. They can never tell your location, they’re only activated when you touch them with your smartphone, so this means they cannot be used for tracking anyone’s location.’
The implants cost €100, according to AFP, and they do not need to be removed to be updated. Instead, users can upload new information through an app, Sjoblad told Insider, adding: ‘I can add new info to the chip every day – yesterday it was my Linkedin, today it’s my COVID certificate, tomorrow it could be something else.’
Venues and events that are currently legally required to check the vaccine status of visitors over 18 in the UK include nightclubs, indoor unseated venues with more than 500 people and unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people.
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