Tech giants team up on digital COVID-19 vaccination initiative

Get a free Techzine subscription!

Microsoft, Oracle and Salesforce are creating a vaccination passport to facilitate post-pandemic travel.

A broad coalition of health and technology leaders this week announced the creation of the Vaccination Credential Initiative (VCI). This project aims to provide individuals with digital access to their vaccination records based on open, interoperable standards.

The current vaccination record system does not readily support convenient access, control and sharing of verifiable vaccination records. The VCI is designed to overcome those obstacles.

VCI coalition members are working to enable digital access to vaccination records using the open, interoperable SMART Health Cards specification. This is a cert that is based on W3C Verifiable Credential and HL7 FHIR standards.

The VCI Coalition members include CARIN Alliance, Cerner, Change Healthcare, The Commons Project Foundation, Epic, Evernorth and Mayo Clinic. Microsoft, MITRE, Oracle, Safe Health, and Salesforce are also involved.

“Empowering the individual”

VCI’s vision is to empower individuals to obtain an encrypted digital copy of their immunization credentials. They can store that information in a digital wallet of their choice. Those without smartphones could receive paper printed with QR codes containing W3C verifiable credentials.

“The goal of the Vaccination Credential Initiative is to empower individuals with digital access to their vaccination records,” said Paul Meyer, CEO of The Commons Project Foundation.

This will allow them to use tools like CommonPass to store their info, so they can “safely return to travel, work, school, and life,” he said.

“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.”

Making the process “as easy as online banking”

Mike Sicilia, executive vice president of Oracle’s Global Business Units, said ease of use was key. “This process needs to be as easy as online banking,” he said. “We are committed to working collectively with the technology and medical communities, as well as global governments,” he added.

Bill Patterson, executive vice president and general manager, CRM Applications at Salesforce, echoed Sicilia’s comments. “With a single platform to help deliver safe and continuous operations and deepen trust with customers and employees, this coalition will be crucial to support public health and wellbeing.”