Microsoft, Oracle and Cigna form coalition for digital records of Covid-19 vaccination

The initiative aims to help people store encrypted copies of their immunisation records in digital wallets

A health worker fills a syringe with a dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine which is being rolled out across the UK. Reuters
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Microsoft, Oracle, health insurer Cigna and Mayo Clinic are part of a coalition pushing for digital records of people who receive vaccinates against Covid-19.

A key aim of the project, called the Vaccination Credential Initiative (VCI), is to help people store encrypted digital copies of their immunisation records in a digital wallet of their choice, the companies said in a joint statement.

These records could eventually be used, with consent, by colleges attempting to re-open or even for entry into concerts in the future, Joan Harvey, an executive at Cigna unit Evernorth, said.

The coalition wants to provide governments and employers with access to a "solid, widely accepted verification programme" that could help them bring people back to work and resume public events, Mr Harvey added.

The coalition has initially partnered with organisations such as hospitals and pharmacies that are administering the vaccines, said Brian Anderson of Mitre Corporation, a non-profit organisation based in Virginia which one of the members of the initiative.

Other companies that are part of the initiative include Salesforce and Cerner Corporation.

In the US, where vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna have been authorised for emergency use, vaccinated people receive a vaccination card or a printout.

The current system does not readily support convenient access and sharing of vaccination records, the companies said.

Those without smartphones would receive paper-based QR (quick response) codes which link to their vaccine records.

The goal "is to empower individuals with digital access to their vaccination records,” said Paul Meyer of The Commons Project Foundation, a non-profit group working on the project.

"Open standards and interoperability are at the heart of VCI's efforts and we look forward to supporting the World Health Organisation and other global stakeholders in implementing and scaling open global standards for health data interoperability."

(With inputs from AFP)