Keeva Seegobin wanted to find a way to encourage Trinidad and Tobago to get vaccinated against the covid19 virus, and decided that the bracelets would help. He wanted people to wear bracelets with the word “vaccinated” on them.
But when the covid19 vaccines arrived at TT, he realized that this idea could be applied to vaccine verification.
This is how he created the Verifyvaccinated.com service.
While TT introduces the concept of Safe Zones, Seegobin believes it is a great way for companies entering safe zones to find out who is vaccinated and who is not.
The TT Safe Zone initiative launched on October 11 will give fully vaccinated people access to cinemas, bars, restaurants, gyms, casinos and water parks.
These spaces have been closed to fight the pandemic. As part of the Safe Zones initiative, there are rules for employees of Safe Zones companies as well as for customers.
Employees of companies in safe zones must be fully immunized and must have copies of their immunization cards on hand and available for inspection by authorities, the government said on the Department of Health website.
Customers must also have proof of vaccination and valid photo ID at all times.
People who have an authentic exemption / deferment medical certificate and the required negative PCR test, as outlined in public health regulation covid19, may also be allowed into a security zone, the website said.
Seegobin said it was inconvenient for citizens to walk around with vaccination cards, even though they were laminated. He said digital technology allows for an easier way to check vaccination and that’s where his service comes in.
Verifyvaccinated is a third-party website, and the silicone wristband sold by Seegobin and his team has a QR code that directs businesses from the safe zone to the website. A quick response code (QR) is a pattern of black and white squares that can be read by a smartphone, allowing the phone user to get more information about something.
Each person will have a unique alphanumeric code that contains their vaccination status and / or medical information such as their blood type.
The code is engraved on the bracelet, Seegobin said. To check their immunization status, a business or person would simply need to enter an individual’s code on the website, and that person’s immunization status would be retrieved. This makes it easier to check their immunization status and a person does not have to travel with the physical immunization card.
Seegobin told Newsday that verifyvaccinated.com was a project he started in April or May.
Seeing the toll of the pandemic on TT was truly frightening for him. When the world discovered the covid19 vaccines, they expected there to be some level of hesitation.
âAt that point, I started promoting it as much as possibleâ¦ When we had Sinopharm, people were hesitant here, but a friend of mine in Abu Dhabi said he took it in. January and that he had looked at the pros and cons and all that.
âI had followed his advice and tried to spread the word because the information was not available on vaccines as much as it should be. I wanted to do my part in promoting immunization.
Also around this time, people started talking about the possibility of safe zones or vaccine passports, he said.
Initially, Seegobin thought the bands would be like “a little candy, like a fad” to encourage vaccination.
“But then I started to think about it and said, ‘But anybody can get it.’ How to differentiate who is vaccinated or not?
This started the development of Verifyvaccinated.com.
Seegobin has no training in technology, but is a helicopter pilot with the Department of National Security and helps run his family’s publishing business.
The 39-year-old from Cunupia said Verifyvaccinated.com works with Cyberline Solutions, Design Den TT and Connective Pros.
While initially thinking of an app, the group decided to go for a website because it allows for greater security.
âAnyone can access it once you have access to the Internet. “
A visit to the company’s website doesn’t yield much information. Seegobin said it was because it was about protecting the information and not disclosing it.
It takes about three to five days from the time you apply to receive the tape.
He added that the company doesn’t ask for a lot of mandatory information: date of birth; vaccination record; phone number; and e-mail address.
The phone number is for delivery only, and as soon as the company gets its collection points up and running it hopes to eliminate that, he said.
He acknowledges that people can have security concerns, but adds, âFor me, I’m not even on social media. I have a lot of problems sharing my information and keeping things outside due to my security background. I don’t really want people to know much about me.
“Then I started to think about it and realized that there might be other people who are like me and who might be afraid to share information and stuff. I just thought I could. do it better, âSeegobin said.
While the government is working, and it applauds them for it, it felt that it was not a very comfortable situation to have safe zones from October 11 but no digital government system in place until November. . However, the government has introduced TT Safe Zone Certificates which are downloadable signs that point out the dos and don’ts in the safe zone and companies displaying the signage certify that they comply with TT Safe Zone rules.
The government plans to enter its covid19 vaccination data into its database, AG Faris Al-Rawi said in a Newsday article on October 2.
He also said that in about six-eight weeks this system will be in place where people can have their vaccination status over the phone with a QR code to scan.
For Seegobin, it is a “big gap” that creates unease for citizens.
He said that there are also about 25,000 people who have been vaccinated outside of TT and the government will not have access to their forms, so how does he plan to validate them?
Seegobin and his team use vaccination cards as proof of vaccination.
âIf that person submits a card, then we can look at that country’s card and see if it matches and validate it or not. This is the only way anyone can do it. Not only in TT but abroad, âsaid Seegobin.
âIn Canada, you have to upload your information, the same way you upload it to our site.
âThere will be loopholes where someone has a forged document. We will not be able to verify 100% that this is not a false document. There are certain things that we will be looking for. But even in TT, there are no standardized vaccine cards. I have seen four different types of TT vaccination cards.
Verifyvaccinated.com has also attracted interest from multinational organizations. Seegobin was reluctant to give the names of these organizations at this time.
He said, however, that no one is just “rubber stamped”.
The company goes through each piece of information with a fine tooth comb, he said.
âWe have to go through individually. That’s why it’s a lot of labor intensive work, âhe said.
And not only does he want to help solve the vaccine verification problem, but he also hopes to generate jobs through his business.
“As the workload increases, I have unemployed friends who were previously National Security employees … will use.”
He said they were no longer part of government and had the skills and understanding to do the job.
To protect the information of people among its employees, Seegobin says the company explicitly states what its intentions are with its application process.
“Before hiring someone, he’ll sign nondisclosure agreements as well as a myriad of other legal documents.”
Seegobin said there was already a legal department in place because someone else with the idea made legal attempts to prevent his company from carrying out its plan.
He tries to do everything right as he can, he said.
âMy mantra is to help people, to help TT. By employing people whom I know are unemployed and based on the sacrifices they have made to serve their countryâ¦ if I can give them jobs, that also helps my country. “
The company contacted the health ministry on October 2 but has yet to receive a response, but is ready to partner with the government. The company said it received a response from the Digital Transformation Ministry that it received the letter sent on October 11.
He was asked if the service was approved by the Department of Health, but he said there was no approval process to his knowledge regarding companies looking to provide digital vaccination verification and that this leaves it as a gray area where it is open.
Seegobin said Legal Notice 247 of the Public Health Regulation updated on October 3 states that only vaccinated people aged 12 and over, upon presentation of a valid vaccination record or copy, can enter. in security zones.
He said this allows the use of services such as verifyvaccinated.com because it indicates that a valid vaccination card or a copy of a card will allow entry into safe zones. Services such as verifyvaccinated.com can serve as copies of vaccination cards.
He initially thought the government would only allow vaccination cards.
Seegobin also offers discounts to businesses in safe areas and their customers to encourage them to use the service.
He said he had contacted the Association of Bartenders and Operators at TT (BOATT) but had not yet received a response at the time of writing.
Businesses in safe areas will get half the price for themselves and all of their employees, he added.
“We will also give them a sticker on the outside that would indicate that their employees are vaccinated and that service is accepted there.”
The company also offers a 20% discount to customers of companies in the security zones.
âSo if they come through us, we’ll give them a promo code, then they’ll give it to their customers,â he added.
The bracelets that come with the company logo, the medical logo and that says vaccinated were imported from China. The engraving of the unique code is carried out by the company.
There are currently 400 to 500 people in TT with the groups.
The tapes still carry Seegobin’s initial message to be vaccinated.