If you’re one of the lucky 10.8 million who have received the COVID-19 vaccine (that’s roughly one in every 30 Americans), then all you have to show for it right now is a piece of paper, but that may soon change.
A coalition of tech companies and health organizations announced Thursday that they are working on the development of an app that will enable people to share their immunization status, reports the New York Times.
The companies, including Salesforce, Oracle, Microsoft and the Mayo Clinic, are working to build a “vaccine passport app” that will allow people to establish their vaccination status for work, travel and other activities.
There is already a similar app available to air travelers to show airlines that they have recently tested negative for COVID-19 to board a plane. The Common Pass is currently being used by United Airline and JetBlue among other carriers.
The Vaccination Credential Initiative (VCI) is being launched to provide a “trustworthy, traceable, verifiable, and universally recognized digital record of vaccination status,” the coalition said in a news release. A digital record “is urgently needed worldwide to safely enable people to return to work, school, events, and travel,” the release said.
VCI’s goal is to give individuals access to an encrypted digital copy of their immunization records. The coalition also stated that those without smartphones could receive paper printed with QR codes containing the credentials.
The current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-issued paper COVID-19 records state the vaccine manufacturer, batch number and date of inoculation, but there is no federal system in place that allows easy access to immunization records online.
“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, in the statement. “This process needs to be as easy as online banking.”