Erika Harman has worked with her partner to create VaxVisa, a tech solution providing verifiable digital certificates for vaccination and lab test results. PICTURE: Cavan Flynn
As vaccines roll out and the world looks to a future beyond COVID-19, a Bond University student has come up with a high-tech solution to help people travel safely around a post-pandemic planet.
Erika Harman, a dietician currently studying Bond’s Master of Healthcare Innovations, has worked with her partner to create VaxVisa, a technology solution providing verifiable digital certificates for vaccination and laboratory test results.
Ms Harman said she wanted to come up with a way for people who had returned negative COVID-19 test results, or who had been vaccinated, to continue with their lives in a way which would help authorities to manage the ongoing threat of community transmission of the virus.
“My partner and I were acutely aware that if people had the ability to provide verifiable proof of laboratory tests and vaccination results via a personal device accessible anywhere in real time, this would be a useful way of assisting authorities to manage the COVID situation without the need for mass lockdowns and closing of businesses.
“People without the disease who could still work, who could still contribute to the economy, had no way to prove they didn’t have the disease, so everything had to be shut, and that’s crippled economies and had very bad effects on people’s mental health.”
Ms Harman described VaxVisa as an app which displayed test results much like the digital boarding passes airlines use to check passengers onto a flight. VaxVisa would allow airlines to ensure a passenger’s most recent COVID-19 tests had come back negative or that they had received the vaccine before they boarded their flights.
The digital certificates could also be used by people to show their result to their employer, when entering a sports stadium, or at other events.
Ms Harman said VaxVisa used technology which incorporated best practice security and privacy systems based on open standards and open source software already in use in health systems around the world, and which had the flexibility to provide tailor-made solutions to meet the requirements of different health authorities or governments.
“All we’re wanting to do is provide digital certificates which are verifiable for whatever test health authorities say they need.
“After this, if we can ever see a way out of the fog with COVID-19, our technology will be able to do the same for any other travel vaccination.”
VaxVisa recently took out second place in Bond University’s Transformer Launch Pad entrepreneurship competition, winning $1000 to go towards development of the product.
Ms Harman, who utilised Bond’s Transformer entrepreneurship hub while working on VaxVisa, said she was delighted to be recognised in the Launch Pad contest.
“I was really chuffed. Never in a million years did I think this would get so far, but I don’t see it as a second, I think anyone who enters that competition is a winner.”