Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, creating COVID vaccine passports

  • A tech and healthcare coalition that includes members like Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Oracle (NYSE:ORCL), Salesforce (NYSE:CRM) and U.S. nonprofit Mayo Clinic are working together to create a COVID-19 vaccination passport. The Vaccination Credential Initiative (VCI) would allow businesses, airlines and countries to check if people have received a coronavirus vaccine to “demonstrate their health status to safely return to travel, work, school and life while protecting their data privacy.”
  • How would it work? “VCI’s vision is to empower individuals to obtain an encrypted digital copy of their immunization credentials to store in a digital wallet of their choice. Those without smartphones could receive paper printed with QR codes containing W3C verifiable credentials.”
  • Some hurdles: Privacy and ethical concerns surround whether a person who can prove they are vaccinated should have more freedoms than someone who is not. Another obstacle is getting health centers to participate. Even if they would want to, they would need resources to incorporate these credentials to VCI’s digital standard (people in the U.S. are currently given paper cards when they get their COVID-19 vaccines, while patient information is logged in their state immunization registries).
  • Looking abroad, Israel is launching a “green passport” program to residents who have received a vaccine or those who have recovered from COVID with antibodies. The passport will lift some restrictions, including mandatory quarantine following exposure to an infected person or traveling abroad, and may even be used for visiting malls or attending cultural and sporting events. The country of 9M people has been lauded for deploying what is currently the fastest COVID vaccination campaign in the world, with 25% of its citizens inoculated with a first dose in just three weeks, as well as 72% of its population over the age of 60.
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci, who President-elect Joe Biden has named as his top medical adviser, has also suggested in recent weeks that a COVID vaccine passport might issued in the U.S.
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