- Health and tech giants are coming together to create standards for digital vaccination passports so that people can prove they've had a COVID-19 shot.
- Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, Cerner, Epic Systems, and the Mayo Clinic are part of the Vaccination Credential Initiative.
- These passports could be useful for boarding airplanes and going to work, school, grocery stores, live concerts, and sporting events.
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Major companies, health organizations, and nonprofits announced on Thursday morning that they were working together to create digital vaccination passports so that people could prove their COVID-19 immunization status.
The Vaccination Credential Initiative - a coalition including Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, Cerner, Epic Systems, and the Mayo Clinic - said it was developing tech standards to let people access their immunization records and verify whether they've had their vaccine.
The VCI said people without smartphones could receive printed QR codes with the information.
Virgin Atlantic, United Airlines, Swiss International Air Lines, Lufthansa, and JetBlue said in December that they would start accepting a digital health pass called CommonPass as proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
That pass was created by one of the members of the VCI, the Commons Project Foundation, and is designed to be an international standard. The initiative announced Thursday is separate - and more ambitious.
"The goal of the Vaccination Credential Initiative is to empower individuals with digital access to their vaccination records so they can use tools like CommonPass to safely return to travel, work, school, and life, while protecting their data privacy," Paul Meyer, the CEO of the Commons Project Foundation, a nonprofit in Geneva, said in a press release.
"For some period of time, most all of us are going to have to demonstrate either negative COVID-19 testing or an up-to-date vaccination status to go about the normal routines of our lives," Dr. Brad Perkins, the foundation's chief medical officer, told The New York Times.
Perkins added that that would happen "whether it's getting on an airplane and going to a different country, whether it's going to work, to school, to the grocery store, to live concerts or sporting events."
There is no existing federal system for people to access their immunization records online or set their vaccination status. The US government gives people paper cards reminding them to get their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The UK government is set to trial a health-passport system developed by iProov, a biometrics firm, and Mvine, a cybersecurity group, The Telegraph reported on Tuesday. The passport would be accessible through a free app and allow users to prove they have been vaccinated.