Microsoft joins coalition to accelerate the release of COVID-19 Vaccine Passports

Vaccine passports are broadly accepted as a way to speed the economic recovery from COVID-19, allowing those who are protected to safely engage in social activity without exposing those who have not been vaccinated to the risk of getting infected or spreading the virus.

Vaccine passports will likely be implemented as apps on smartphones, and it is important that the proof of vaccination not be easily forged while also preserving privacy.

Now a broad coalition of health and technology leaders announced the creation of the Vaccination Credential Initiative (VCI). Members of the coalition include Microsoft, CARIN Alliance, Cerner, Change Healthcare, The Commons Project Foundation, Epic, Evernorth, Mayo Clinic, MITRE, Oracle, Safe Health, and Salesforce.

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“As the world begins to recover from the pandemic, having electronic access to vaccination, testing, and other medical records will be vital to resuming travel and more,” said Mike Sicilia, executive vice president of Oracle’s Global Business Units.

VCI coalition members are working to enable digital access to vaccination records using the open, interoperable SMART Health Cards specification, based on W3C Verifiable Credential and HL7 FHIR standards. The VIC will enable individuals to obtain an encrypted digital copy of their immunization credentials to store in a digital wallet of their choice. Those without smartphones could receive paper printed with QR codes containing W3C verifiable credentials.

“As we explore the many use cases for the vaccination credential, we are working to ensure that underserved populations have access to this verification,” said Dr. Brian Anderson, chief digital health physician at MITRE.

“We are kicking off the most significant vaccination effort in the history of the United States. Now more than ever, individuals need access to their own vaccination and health information in a portable format to begin to move about the country safely and comfortably,” said Ryan Howells, principal, Leavitt Partners and program manager of the CARIN Alliance

Microsoft told FOX Business that they have already developed an implementation guide detailing “the use of open, interoperable, and privacy-protecting standards via the SMART Health Cards framework” as part of the VCI.

“A secure, convenient solution to verify COVID-19 vaccination will play an important role in accelerating a healthy and safe return to work, school and life in general,” said Joan Harvey, president of care solutions at Evernorth, Cigna’s health services business.

The Vaccination Credential Initiative has created an informational website at vaccinationcredential.org for more information.

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