Covid-19: WHO publishes recommendations on digital certificates

This information can then tell if the person has had the disease and how long it has been since recovery. This information can also indicate whether the result of a Covid-19 test was negative or whether the person has been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

According to’WHO, vaccination certificates are nothing new and digital documents can be used in the same way as paper documents. The agency points out that paper vaccination records can be damaged, lost and the risk of fraud is higher.

Prevention of digital exclusion

At the same time, the agency argues that digital certificates cannot exclude people who do not have a smartphone or a computer.

The WHO suggestion is to create a link between the paper and electronic options, with a barcode printed on the vaccination record, for example.

In addition, the agency is making it clear that it does not support the requirement of proof of vaccination against the Covid-19 virus for people who are going to travel.


In some situations, the WHO considers it necessary for countries to obtain vaccination information to prevent travelers from having to undergo a quarantine or a Covid test upon arrival in the country.

But for the WHO, this should not be the primary focus of digital vaccination certificates for Covid-19. The agency has published a guide for countries on technical recommendations for issuing these electronic documents.

According to WHO, Member States must be flexible and find a solution that takes into account the diverse needs of citizens around the world. The content of the guide is useful both for countries that already make digital certificates available and for nations that are developing such a system.

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