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Tuesday, Jul 05, 2022
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A national vaccine pass, the SMART Health Card, has quietly rolled out in the US – and Red States are getting on board.

A national vaccine pass, the SMART Health Card, has quietly rolled out in the US – and Red States are getting on board.

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.

There is already an impressively widespread availability of SMART Health Cards in the U.S. More than 200 million Americans can now download, print or store their vaccination records as a QR code. When the QR code is pulled up, only the individual’s name, date of birth and vaccination information is visible. No other medical information or personal data is shared. This code is also digitally signed to ensure that the card was issued from a verified location and to prevent forgery.


SMART Health Cards Ease Travel


For individuals, the benefits of having access to personal digital vaccine record is three-fold. First, it’s a huge plus for travel in the U.S. and abroad.

Many indoor cultural attractions and performance venues in the U.S. require proof of vaccination. “We believe it gives people peace of mind when the folks around them are unlikely to be contagious,” says Gus Warren, CEO of Bindle, a health verification app that allows venues to verify the vaccination status of patrons.

Bindle’s growing list of clients spans more than 30 states, from blue strongholds like California and New York to red leaners like Texas, Florida, Arkansas, Missouri and Georgia. At the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., for example, there's a Bindle lane that offers fastpass-like efficiency in scanning QR codes from a number of vaccine verification platforms used around the world.

“The SMART Health Card is such an important development and the Vaccine Credential Initiative has been phenomenal in getting this out there,” says Warren, noting that while Bindle recognizes several interoperable standards, the SMART Health Card has emerged as the most important. “Absolutely, it has become the standard across the U.S. and North America.”

“And at an international level, we are continuing to see intense interest in a coordinated international approach,” says Anderson. “And that has not diminished at all. I think quite the opposite.”

To wit: Every Canadian province has now adopted SMART Health Card verification, as has Aruba, the Cayman Islands, Singapore and Japan. And in Africa, the SMART Health Card has rolled out in Kenya and Rwanda, just the first of 32 African countries in the “Smart Africa” alliance to adopt a digital-first approach to healthcare records.


The Case For Red States


The second argument for adopting a digital vaccine verification system is the one swaying red-state governors: Having digital access to personal health records empowers the individual.

More than a dozen states have launched their own SMART Health Card-based portals. At least seven others — including Arizona, Mississippi and West Virginia — have turned to a third-party, MyIRMobile, to issue SMART Health Cards. Minnesota has chosen Docket, another third-party option.

Most right-leaning states offering SMART Health Cards do it quietly, without any fanfare. But big red South Carolina expects to roll out a portal for SMART Health Cards by the end of March, reports Politico.

“This isn’t a passport,” South Carolina’s director of immunizations told Politico. “This is essentially a Covid card that people get at their convenience because it’s their record.”

Utah was one of the first red states to get on the SMART Health Card train. For former Utah Governor Mike Leavitt, a Republican who was the Secretary of Health and Human Services in the George W. Bush administration, the issue boils down to individual rights. “There's always a question about who owns the data and the rights to access that data,” Leavitt said at a recent global forum on SMART Health Cards. “But one thing is unchallengeable. And that is, I own a right to have my own data. And to have it in a form that I can present it conveniently for the kinds of things I want to do.”

“The idea of being able to have trustworthy copies of your own health records is not a red or blue state issue,” echoes Anderson. “ It is an individual empowerment of your own health data. What we're going to see over the next month is a growing number of red states recognizing and appreciating the importance of empowering their individual citizens in their states.”


This Won’t Be The Last Pandemic


Lastly, having a vaccine verification system in place prepares the U.S. for the next coronavirus variant as well as the inevitability of a future pandemic.

Today the main threat to our health and economy remains the omicron variant, says Anderson. “But it's going to be pi in a couple months, and it's going to be the same situation. Yes, we're going to get to an endemic phase of all of this, but that doesn't change the need to continue to protect the citizens of a nation from highly transmissible and communicable diseases.”

“Vaccination verification will be increasingly important at an international level,” Anderson says. “And so if we want to enable all of our citizens from every state to be able to participate in the safe travel across international boundaries and to participate in international commerce, it'd be important for our government officials from every state to enable this.”


Where Else To Get A SMART Health Card


Given the political landscape, Anderson recognizes that some states may never get on board. “We're not going to have all 50 states leveraging this approach,” he says. “But the vast majority of the vaccinated individuals in the US – over 200 million of them – already have the ability right now to go and get one of these credentials.”

That includes anyone vaccinated at any branch of Walmart, Sam’s Club, CVS, Duane Reade, Walgreens, Costco, Kroger, Rite-Aid or any of the dozens of other companies participating in the retail pharmacy program. To access an electronic version of your vaccination record, log into the online Covid portal of the brand where you got your shots.

And whether your state is red or blue, your healthcare provider is increasingly likely to offer a digital vaccination record. More than 100 major health systems and hospital groups across the country now offer SMART Health Cards to patients. These include Kaiser Permanente, Tenet Health, Scripps Healthcare, Cerner and other healthcare heavy hitters. Big regional healthcare groups in the SMART consortium span the country, from Centra Health in Virginia to UCHealth in Colorado and from CoxHealth in Missouri to SoutheastHEALTH in Alabama and Georgia.

Comments

Schuyler 110 days ago
Absolutely disgusted by my state's choice to implement this. This is after our Gov Tate Reeves spoke out against vaccine passports but what do you know just like so many other things they probably snuck it under a bill named something else and are conveniently calling it a SMART Health Card instead of a passport. You all better show up for your primaries and clean house of the RINOs. It's honestly like they are controlled opposition at this point. Their actions do not reflect their words. So tired of all this. They think we are stupid. Get these people out...
Burn In A Lake Of FIRE for Eternity 117 days ago
The choice is simple, freedom or slavery. The implementation of any "national database" to track and "allow" citizens their God given rights? NO, this is not freedom, this is the path to slavery! The companies who promoted this will be torn down. The politicians who presented this as a "benefit" are traitors and will be served justice fit for traitors. We live in a Constitutional Republic. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights are still alive in the hearts of patriots. We rededicate this land and its people to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ every single day. Bill Gates, Klaus Schwab, George Soros, and your abettors... you won't be able to build walls high enough to protect you. If all legal roads fail, there are many more lions here than there are sheep. Tick Tock you WEF and Davos self-proclaimed elites... we see you and your cronies too.
B H 126 days ago
I am impressed to see comments open. And from the looks of it not censored.

I find it quite hilarious that a doctor quoted in this article said that it gives people peace of mind that the people around them are not contagious😂. they've been injected with the bio weapon, they are a ticking time bomb, their bodies are instructed to create the virus by the billions. The only thing making the variants are the vaccinated. Why get vaccinated for something that's not yet proven to exist and from their very fraudulent numbers has a 99.97% recovery rate, 99.9999997% if you're a kid. But if you get vaccinated your immune system is permanently damaged forever it's designed to give you AIDS. Big parma would never heal you or make you healthy there's no money in that. Stop using Google and start using DuckDuckGo at least on.. go you can filter the time of recent articles such as see things within the last day see things within the last week so on and so forth.

Did you knowworld wide 5000 people die per day due to diarrhea. That's 1,870,000 people dead from diarrhea yearly.

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