A lot of ongoing discussion has been channeled toward how today’s Cloud based technology capabilities can assist in ongoing response and mitigation to the effects of ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.  In that light, Supply Chain Matters highlights for our readers a new joint effort among a collaboration of enterprise technology providers to collaborate on what is being termed as the Vaccination Credential Initiative.

According to a newly launched website, the Vaccination Credential Initiative (VCI): “..is a coalition of public and private partners committed to empowering individuals with digital access to their vaccination records based on open, interoperable standards so they can protect and improve their health and demonstrate their health status to safely return to travel, work, school and life while protecting their data privacy.

 

The efforts aims in helping people to be able to electronically demonstrate their existing vaccination status for activities related to air or common carrier travel, work, school or attendance at large gatherings. Just like many air travelers can present and verify their aircraft boarding pass on their smartphone, similar capabilities can be initiated to verify latest up-to-date vaccination verification.

The collaboration currently involves tech providers Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce and Cerner Corp. along with the Mayo Clinic, MITRE  and the Commons Project Foundation among a total of 12 currently listed collaborators.

The primary focus is reportedly focused on collaborating and agreeing to a standard for sharing vaccination status stored in a digital wallet both secured by information encryption and verifiable for trustfulness regarding its content. Initial focus is reportedly centered on the SMART health cards specification, based on the W3C Verifiable Credential and HL7 FHIR standards.

The effort is directed at leveraging smartphone devices to be able to provide an up-to-date credential via a QR code and provisions are being considered for those without smartphones to be to receive paper printed with a QR code containing verified credentials. The back end transactional aspects of these efforts are reportedly being evaluated for enablement of partial use of a Blockchain distributed ledger.

The coalition is further working with the World Health Organization (WHO) so that the efforts can be shared for use globally.

This effort will likely have its distractors and according to a posting by Techcrunch, ..potential pitfalls and risks will no doubt be highly scrutinized, particularly by public interest groups focused on privacy and equitable treatment.”

An interesting backdrop to this effort is that of Oracle. In a release published in mid-December 2020, the enterprise Cloud technology provider indicated  its ongoing efforts with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in utilizing the vendor’s National Electronic Health Records Cloud and Public Health Application Suite to manage the COVID-19 vaccination program throughout the United States. The applications were reportedly first utilized in June of 2020 to register and directly communicate with over 500,000 volunteers participating in clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics. The release further indicates:

The Oracle National EHR Cloud will serve as the CDC’s central data repository for all vaccination data in the U.S. This “national clearing house” system will receive data from all U.S. jurisdictions administering vaccinations. Anonymized vaccination data (a version of the data where all patient names and identifiers have been removed to protect patient privacy) will be used for analysis and reporting by authorized agencies and organizations.

We trust that these efforts will move swiftly and collaboratively so all of us can eventually get back to what form of normalcy will exist in the coming months or years. Indeed, technology can have an important role to play, not only in universal documentation and certification of vaccination but in planning and controlling the global supply and administration needs of multiple approved vaccines.  Global citizens will depend on such efforts.

 

Bob Ferrari

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