Microsoft, Mayo Clinic pushing for digital ‘vaccine wallet’ that could help resume public events

Coronavirus

FILE – In this Jan. 5, 2021, file photo, healthcare worker receives a second Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine shot at Beaumont Health in Southfield, Mich. With frustration rising over the slow rollout of the vaccine, state leaders and other politicians are turning up the pressure, improvising and seeking to bend the rules to get shots in arms more quickly. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

(Reuters) — Microsoft Corp, health insurer Cigna Corp and Mayo Clinic are part of a coalition pushing for digital records of people who get vaccinated against COVID-19.

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

These records could eventually be used, with an individual’s consent, by colleges that are trying to re-open or even for entry into concerts in the future, Joan Harvey, an executive at Cigna unit Evernorth told Reuters.

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

The coalition has initially partnered with organizations such as hospitals and pharmacies that are administering the vaccines, said Brian Anderson from Mitre Corp, one of the members of the initiative.

Other companies that are part of the initiative include Salesforce, Oracle Corp and Cerner Corp.

In the United States, where vaccines from Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc have been authorized for emergency use, vaccinated individuals receive a vaccination card or printout.

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

Individuals without smartphones would receive paper-based QR codes which link to their vaccine records.

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