Workshop: Tackling the immunity certificate conundrum: a call to action for proper health data governance

Niniane Paeffgen • April 2021

SDI is co-organizing a workshop on the pressing issue around Health Data.

Ever since the World Health Organisation officially declared Covid-19 a pandemic more than a year ago, the handling of health data has increasingly gained importance.

With vaccination campaigns rolling out globally, the calls for a more efficient usage of data concerning people’s immunity status become louder. Whether we call it a digital vaccination passport, immunity certificate or green pass, in the end it all comes down to the way people’s data related to their immunity status is collected, stored and used. So-called health data governance is key to tackle the many issues that arise.

The current discussion around the immunity certificate provides a use-case for the discussion around health data governance. Multiple states already implemented their own system and larger regional entities such as the European Union are planning to issue their own systems by this summer. Guidelines and framework conditions defined at the multilateral level are therefore urgently required.

What elements are needed to allow for trustworthy, interoperable and sustainable digital immunity certification systems? How to build trust in digital solutions instead of undermining them further? What role can international Geneva and its institutions play?

Together with Garrett Mehl (Head of Unit, Digital Health Technology, Dep. Digital Health and Innovation, WHO), Niniane Paeffgen (Director, Swiss Digital Initiative) and Alessandro Blasimme (Senior Scientist, Health Ethics and Policy Lab», ETH Zurich), we will discuss these questions and jointly reflect upon the necessary framework conditions.

The panel discussion will be followed by an open ideation process to develop concrete policy proposals in smaller breakout groups clustered around four perspectives: ethical, technical, political/governance and scientific.

We look forward to welcoming you to our workshop! The event provides an exciting opportunity to discuss a pressing matter with stakeholders and interested citizens from various fields and backgrounds.

About the organizers:

foraus is an independent grassroots think tank that publishes evidence-based policy recommendations in the form of discussion papers, policy briefs and blog posts, and organizes high-level debates with the aim of creating innovative solutions for the foreign policy of tomorrow.

Sensor Advice stands for goal-oriented, personal consulting and support in policy, communications and organizational management. An interdisciplinary team of experienced practitioners and scientists works independently and in a network with the aim of effectively mediating between business, politics and society.

In the study “Health Data Governance: What’s in it for Switzerland?” the authors from both organisations argue that Geneva should take a leading role and become the centre for health data governance.

The Swiss Digital Initiative is a foundation based in Geneva that aims to advance practice-oriented ethics in the digital age through specific projects. It brings together representatives from the private and public sector, as well as academia, civil society organizations and international institutions.

This workshop is made possible thanks to the support of Fondation Botnar.