A coalition of organizations in the health and technology industries has kicked off a campaign to allow individuals to easily access their COVID-19 vaccination records in a way that preserves patient privacy. The new Vaccination Credential Initiative (VCI) said the goal is to create a setup that works with different electronic systems and allows individuals to demonstrate their vaccine status.
“The current vaccination record system does not readily support convenient access, control and sharing of verifiable vaccination records,” the coalition said in a press release. A “trustworthy, traceable, verifiable and universally recognized digital record of vaccination status is urgently needed worldwide to safely enable people to return to work, school, events and travel.”
“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. He is a program manager for the Consumer Directed Payer Data Exchange, or CARIN Alliance, a bipartisan organization.
CARIN is one of the members of the VCI, which also includes Cerner, Change Healthcare, the Commons Project Foundation, Epic, Evernorth, Mayo Clinic, Microsoft Corp., Mitre Corp., Oracle, Safe Health and Salesforce.
“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. “Just as COVID-19 does not discriminate based on socio-economic status, we must ensure that convenient access to records crosses the digital divide.”
VCI coalition members are working to enable digital access to vaccination records using the open, interoperable SMART Health Cards specification, which is based on both healthcare and the World Wide Web Consortium’s verifiable credential standards.
The coronavirus pandemic has broadened the potential for countries to require a “vaccination passport,” something that was only needed in select cases previously. One major concern for consumers with this post-pandemic push is privacy.
Some critics argue that it is an unreasonable demand on consumers to make them carry sensitive health information in their phones from a privacy standpoint.