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While Americans are Distracted, A National Vaccine Pass has Quietly Emerged


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While Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been dominating the mainstream media airwaves, COVID-19 has seemingly disappeared from the news cycle.

Hardly anyone was masked at Joe Biden’s State of the Union Address last night.

In fact, Biden barely mentioned COVID at all.

It would be easy for Americans to take this as a sign that we are finally moving on from the alleged pandemic.

Look a bit closer, and you’ll find that may not be true.

While we’ve all been distracted, a national vaccine pass has quietly emerged in the form of the SMART health card.

This digital vaccination card has already been rolled out in 21 states, and more are planning to follow suit…

Forbes was the first to report:

Even as the omicron variant loosens its grip on the world, destinations continue to require travelers to show proof of vaccination. And, increasingly, a paper CDC vaccination card is not cutting it.

While the United States government has not issued a federal digital vaccine pass, a national standard has nevertheless emerged. To date, 21 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico offer accessibility to the SMART Health Card, a verifiable digital proof of vaccination developed through the Vaccination Credential Initiative (VCI), a global coalition of public and private stakeholders including Microsoft, Salesforce, Oracle, the Mayo Clinic and other health and tech heavyweights.

And very soon, at least four more states will be rolling out access to SMART Health Cards. “We’ve seen a notable uptick in states that have officially launched public portals where individuals can get verifiable vaccination credentials in the form of SMART Health Cards with a QR code,” says Dr. Brian Anderson, co-founder of the VCI and chief digital health physician at MITRE.

NBC News reported on the emergence of the SMART health cards back in January:

Whether they realize it or not, about 200 million people in the United States now likely have access to a Covid-19 digital vaccine card.

The digital pass known as the SMART Health Card is voluntary and minimal by design to protect personal information. It has a person’s name, date of birth and the dates and brands of vaccination doses, all contained within a type of scannable bar code known as a QR code.

And after a relatively quiet start, it has built momentum in recent months as more states and companies have signed on, making it something of a de facto national digital vaccine card.

“The beautiful thing about this is that this multistate coalition is a coalition of the willing,” said Dr. Brian Anderson, chief digital health physician at MITRE, a research nonprofit, and an architect of the health cards.

Any such card seemed like a remote possibility a year ago, when people first began receiving paper cards as proof of their Covid vaccinations. The Biden administration said in March that it would not take the lead on any national health pass and instead defer to the private sector, and the idea of a vaccine “passport” has faced opposition and even bans, especially in Republican-led states such as Alabama and Texas.

Most Americans have been distracted by what’s going on in Ukraine, but others are still paying attention to what’s occurring at home:

Several states have already implemented the SMART card, and more states are planning to.



 

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