Walmart Making COVID-19 Data Available Digitally for ‘Vaccine Passports’
Being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 might be protective against infection, but, without proof, it doesn’t open many doors to more activities outside the home. That’s why Walmart is making COVID-19 data available for so-called vaccine passports. Find out how pharmacies at the nation’s largest retailer are doing that and what protocols they are using.
BENTONVILLE, AR – People who get their COVID-19 vaccines at Walmart pharmacies will leave not only with a bandage strip on their arm but also digital access to their vaccine record.
In a bow to the future of “vaccine passports,” Walmart will make vaccination records available digitally, so those vaccinated at Walmart and Sam’s Club can easily access their vaccine status as needed, in a safe, secure way.
To do that, the nation’s largest retailer is using the open, interoperable SMART Health Cards standard being developed under the Vaccination Credential Initiative and co-chaired by The Commons Project Foundation (TCP).
“Having convenient, safe, frictionless access to health records will be available to customers vaccinated at Walmart and Sam’s Club, including their vaccination records, through the Health Pass by CLEAR app and TCP’s CommonHealth and CommonPass apps,” according to a company press release. “These platforms are free to users who choose to use them in order to verify their vaccine status to safely return to travel, work, school, sports events, entertainment and other venues while protecting their health data privacy.”
“Our goal is to give customers vaccinated at Walmart free and secure digital access to their vaccine record and enable them to share that information with third parties seeking to confirm their vaccination status,” explained Walmart U.S. CEO and president, John Furner. “We are proud to be the first retailer to strategically partner with both The Commons Project Foundation and CLEAR, and we look forward to working with them to empower people with digital access to their vaccination records so they can use them whenever and however they choose.”
A free mobile experience within the CLEAR app, Health Pass securely connects a person's verified identity to multiple layers of COVID-19 related health information and is being used by 50 organizations.
Through a free digital account at Walmart and Sam’s Club, customers will have access to their prescription history and other health care information from Walmart. This information can also be provided in paper form at their local Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacy.
To enable the technology, Walmart and Sam’s Club have created systems that will allow vaccine status to be stored within the company’s proprietary apps and also interface with secure third-party apps.
The Vaccination Credential Initiative (VCI) is working to make COVID-19 Vaccination records available in a secure, verifiable and privacy-preserving way. Coalition partners include CARIN Alliance, Cerner, Change Healthcare, The Commons Project Foundation, Epic, Evernorth, Mayo Clinic, Microsoft, MITRE, Oracle, Safe Health, and Salesforce.
The coalition is developing a standard model for organizations administering COVID-19 vaccines to make credentials available in an accessible, interoperable, digital format. The group notes that trustworthy, traceable, verifiable, and universally recognized digital record of vaccination status is urgently needed worldwide to safely enable people to return to work, school, events, and travel.