The Vaccination Credential Initiative, a broad coalition of leading healthcare and technology organizations, continues to grow and is on track to publish freely available, openly licensed implementation guides for vaccination credentials in April, with availability to consumers to begin in May. These specifications establish an equitable, privacy-preserving approach to sharing verifiable clinical data in digital and paper form. If widely adopted, this approach enables individuals to show proof of vaccination to safely return to school, work, travel, and public events with organizations that adopt these specifications.
International health data standards body Health Level Seven® International (HL7®) has joined the VCI. Chief Executive Officer Dr. Charles Jaffe shared, “HL7 is committed to supporting global vaccination certification. The Vaccination Credential Initiative is a critical step in providing patients and caregivers with a reliable and secure means of achieving that goal.”
Since announcing its launch on January 14, 2021, VCI’s voluntary coalition of public and private organizations has grown to more than 300 members committed to empowering individuals with the choice and ability to access a trustworthy and verifiable copy of their vaccination records in digital or paper form using open, interoperable standards.
VCI members are collaborating pro bono to support development, testing, and real-world use of implementation guides needed to issue, share, and validate vaccination records.
The VCI Charter, now posted on VCI.org, outlines the shared commitment across coalition participants to design a transparent, inclusive solution, accessible and usable by all people and countries regardless of economic status, that upholds and protects the privacy of individual’s health data.
In April, VCI will release two implementation guides (IG) for use by software developers to integrate the open, interoperable SMART Health Cards specification into their apps and systems, with production use expected beginning in May.
Both implementation guides currently under development are available for review online in draft form:
Testing to get it right. VCI’s workgroups have been testing and refining the SMART Health Cards specification over the past 60 days.
For example, a test implementation of the specification has been created by Cerner to gather developer and community feedback before expecting to make it available to eligible hospital and health system clients this summer at no additional cost. According to Cerner, existing immunization records will retroactively be available as verified credentials later this year.
Partnership with a purpose. The VCI effort may be new, but the interoperability challenge posed by a federated system of more than 20,000 vaccination administration sites is not and deserves our collective focus and involvement. Although navigating IT infrastructure at such scale is daunting, 300+ members - including sometimes fierce competitors - have freely signed on to collaborate to tackle this challenge in the public interest.
The Vaccination Credential Initiative (VCI) is a broad coalition of health and technology organizations committed to empowering individuals with digital access to their vaccination records using the open, interoperable SMART Health Cards specification, based on W3C Verifiable Credential and HL7 FHIR standards. Visit vci.org for more information.