Tech giants begin work on a digital wallet for coronavirus vaccination records

A verifiable vaccination certificate on a smartphone

A coalition of technology firms including Salesforce, Oracle, and Microsoft have committed to creating a digital vaccine verification system to help identify people that have had the COVID-19 vaccination.

The Vaccination Credential Initiative (VCI), which is backed by a cohort of health companies, is developing a tool that can be stored on mobile devices and easily interrogated by apps.

The current record system, which is handled by the patient's GP, is unable to provide "convenient" access and can not be shared or easily used as verification, the coalition has said. Instead, the VCI has been touted as a way for people to obtain encrypted digital copies of their immunisation credentials, which can be stored in a digital wallet of their choosing.

As vaccine programs rollout and people start to look at international travel again, it's thought that a verifiable system - essentially a vaccine passport - will better help authorities contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The coalition members are said to be working on digital access with an interoperable SMART Health Cards specification. These are electronic cards used to hold patient data that allow doctors to access secure medical histories and treat people without going through extensive paper work.

The cards are based on the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) encryption standards but, for those that do not have smartphones, a paper printed with QR codes containing the W3C credentials could be used.

Health organisations that are participating in the initiative have agreed to provide individuals with digital access to their vaccination records through the SMART Health Cards, while tech firms have agreed to support vaccination data sources to issue the cards.

"As the world begins to recover from the pandemic, having electronic access to vaccination, testing, and other medical records will be vital to resuming travel and more," said Mike Sicilia, executive vice president of Oracle's Global Business Units.

"This process needs to be as easy as online banking. We are committed to working collectively with the technology and medical communities, as well as global governments, to ensure people will have secure access to this information where and when they need it."

Bobby Hellard

Bobby Hellard is ITPro's Reviews Editor and has worked on CloudPro and ChannelPro since 2018. In his time at ITPro, Bobby has covered stories for all the major technology companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, and regularly attends industry-leading events such as AWS Re:Invent and Google Cloud Next.

Bobby mainly covers hardware reviews, but you will also recognize him as the face of many of our video reviews of laptops and smartphones.