Everywhere you look someone has an idea for an immunization passport. Will verifying that you have received your series of COVID-19 vaccines get you in the front row of a concert? Will it allow you to travel to your favorite destination out of the country? Will it let you visit your relatives in extended care facilities? Michael Popovich, CEO at STChealth answered that with one word: “Maybe?”

He went on to say, “We do know, that unless that record was validated and came from a trusted source, it should not be accepted. It is simply too easy to take a picture of a COVID paper vaccine form, or create any form, fill it out, and claim that as your proof.” 

It may be too early to sort the verification process out, but it is clear third party application developers, large IT cooperatives, and most everybody are suggesting solutions. In every case the missing element is how to get the data from a trusted source.

With the COVID-19 vaccine being provided across the country there is a national initiative to report vaccine information to Public Health Immunization Information Systems (IIS). These systems have been operational for over two decades and are consolidated resources for retaining patient immunization histories.

Dr. Scott Hamstra, Chief Medical Officer at STChealth indicated, “They are health records that have achieved a level of trust associated with them. The key now is to unlock this data to allow access by individual patients. This is where a valid certificate can be generated if and when one is required.”

STChealth’s consumer access solution, MyIR Mobile, has been delivering patient immunization records from State IIS’s to support certified immunization certificates, allowing parents to validate their children’s vaccine histories as verifiable proof for school enrollment and attending camps as needed. 

As more people receive their COVID-19 vaccine, they may want to show proof of immunization for any activity that requires verification. The industry must decide if there is a standard certificate that would work universally that all consumer facing applications could leverage. Michael Popovich indicated, “Even if the formal certificate is never required for COVID, the simple fact that consumers have access to their records allows us to engage them and inform them of other immunizations that may be important for which they are at risk for a vaccine preventable disease.”

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