In my previous article, I wrote about the World Health Organization’s Interim guidance describing its technical approach to Smart Vaccination Certificates. What the WHO is doing is the first step. In this article, I would like to address the next steps that need to be taken. Specifically, how are organizations going to use the Smart Vaccine Certificates. This issue boils down to the rules that are going to be developed and adopted to make the SVC’s usable. Many of these rules currently don’t exist so we will start by analyzing some key factors.
On March 19, 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued its Interim guidance for developing a Smart Vaccination Certificate (SVC). This initial, admittedly incomplete document is aimed at describing WHO’s technical approach; two subsequent releases over the next few months are expected to cover ethical and privacy considerations (April 2021), and a further iteration of the technical considerations with additional emphasis on trust frameworks (May 2021). This current document is essentially a “request for comment” about WHO’s proposed technical approach. As usual, our observations will be focused on implications for the United States.
Vaccine Credentialing Activities: A Complicated Path Forward in the US (Part 1) – Potential Sources of Data
As COVID-19 vaccination increases the US is preparing for a phased reopening. A key factor of that reopening in the United States and some other countries may be a requirement for individuals to prove that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19. “Proof” will likely be embodied in a paper – or perhaps electronic – certificate whose source and contents can be independently verified to ensure validity. Uses of such a certificate include international travel, and perhaps also domestic travel (like what is being proposed in the European Union), admission to large venues such as sporting events or other entertainment, and even school or business admission.
On March 9, 2020 the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released its final rule on the 21st Century Cures Act: Interoperability, Information Blocking, and the ONC Health IT Certification Program. Referred to by some people as the “Information Blocking Rule,” since this is the primary topic, the document actually covers a host of other issues related to interoperability driven primarily by requirements of the 21st Century Cures Act. In addition to the final rule itself you can read the ONC press release, a comparison between the proposed and final rules, and lots of other resources. The final rule was officially be published in the Federal Register on May 1, 2020.