Digital vaccination records could be made available under new initiative

15 Jan 2021391 Views

Image: © fotofabrika/Stock.adobe.com

An initiative backed by Microsoft, Salesforce and Oracle is aiming to develop a digital ‘vaccination passport’.

A broad coalition of health and technology leaders has announced the creation of an initiative that aims to enable individuals to prove they have been vaccinated against Covid-19.

The Vaccination Credential Initiative (VCI) hopes to help those who are vaccinated access their vaccination records digitally in a secure and verifiable way. This is could essentially work as a ‘vaccination passport’ in the event that governments, airlines or businesses request proof of vaccination in the future.

While the global vaccination roll-out is still in its infancy, Australian airline Qantas said last year that travellers would need to prove they have been vaccinated against Covid-19 in order to board its flights in the future. A UK plumbing company also said this week that it was considering a ‘no jab, no job’ policy for workers.

A number of health and technology businesses are involved in the coalition, including Cerner, Change Healthcare, The Commons Project Foundation, Mayo Clinic, Microsoft, Oracle, Safe Health and Salesforce.

The VCI coalition members said they 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.

Support Silicon Republic

Under the initiative, those who want to access their vaccination records could receive an encrypted digital copy of their immunisation credentials to store in a digital wallet of their choice. Those without smartphones could receive a hard copy printed with QR codes and W3C verifiable credentials.

‘As easy as online banking’

Paul Meyer, CEO of The Commons Project Foundation, said the goal of the VCI is to allow individuals to safely return to travel, work, school and life by giving them access to their vaccination records.

“Open standards and interoperability are at the heart of VCI’s efforts and we look forward to supporting the World Health Organization and other global stakeholders in implementing and scaling open global standards for health data interoperability,” he said.

Mike Sicilia, executive vice-president of Oracle’s global business units, added that electronic access to medical records will be vital to resuming to travel.

“This process needs to be as easy as online banking. We are committed to working collectively with the technology and medical communities, as well as global governments, to ensure people will have secure access to this information where and when they need it.”

Jenny Darmody is the deputy editor of Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com