Apple is tightening up its policy on COVID-19 vaccine passes, requiring developers to work with “entities recognized by public health authorities” before submitting to Apple. The company positioned this new policy as a way to ensure that users’ data is protected.
The tech giant notes that these new regulations come amid an increase in health passes, which are typically designed to give users access to a service or building based on their vaccine records.
The new regulation, specifies that any COVID-19 vaccine passes submitted by government, medical and other credentialed institutions are allowed to submit.
This is an extension to a policy established at the beginning of the pandemic that specified only developers from a recognized government organization, NGO, medical institution, and companies “deeply credentialed in health issues” could submit COVID-19 related apps.
WHY IT MATTERS
COVID-19 vaccinations are rolling out all over the country. According to the CDC, more than 55 million doses of the vaccine have been administered, breaking down to roughly 39.6 million individuals receiving one dose or more, and 15 million receiving the full two doses.
However, as more and more individuals receive the vaccine, agencies are warning patients to be careful of sharing too much information. The Better Business Bureau warns against sharing vaccination cards on social media, because of the personal information it contains. The agency cited scams regarding fake vaccination cards in the United Kingdom.
THE LARGER TREND
Apple has actively been involved in rolling out tools to address the coronavirus pandemic. Early on in the pandemic the company Apple updated Siri with a new conversation tree triggered by questions related to COVID-19. The tool could then help patients gauge their exposure to the virus. Later, the company rolled out a more robust online screening tool that it built in partnership with the CDC, the White House Task Force and FEMA.
The company also became involved in COVID-19 contact-tracing efforts. It teamed up with Google to build an interoperable, system-level coronavirus tracing tool.