July 29, 2021

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Covid Vaccine Digital Credentials See Interest From Microsoft, Salesforce – The New York Times

2 min read

Airlines, workplaces and sports stadiums may soon require people to show their coronavirus vaccination status on their smartphones before they can enter.

A coalition of leading technology companies, health organizations and nonprofit groups — including Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, Cerner, Epic Systems, the Mitre Corporation and the Mayo Clinic — announced on Thursday morning that they were developing technology standards to enable consumers to obtain and share their immunization records through health passport apps.

“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,” said Dr. Brad Perkins, the chief medical officer at the Commons Project Foundation, a nonprofit organization in Geneva that is a member of the vaccine credential initiative.

That will happen, Dr. Perkins added, “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.”

Vaccine passport apps could fill a significant need for airlines, employers and other businesses.

In the United States, the federal government has developed paper cards that remind people who receive coronavirus vaccinations of their vaccine manufacturer, batch number and date of inoculation. But there is no federal system that consumers can use to get easy access to their immunization records online and establish their vaccination status for work or travel.

A few airlines, including United Airlines and JetBlue, are already trying out CommonPass, a health passport app from the Commons Project. The app enables passengers to retrieve their coronavirus test results from their health providers and then gives them a confirmation code allowing them to board certain international flights. The vaccination credentialing system would work similarly.

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