Wouldn’t it be nice if all of these different options were able to talk to each other, so that my existing blue certificate would talk to systems that require the orange certificate or the red certificate?
Two organizations are pursuing this dream of interoperability.
The Global Information for Public Health Transformation (GIPHT) initiative of the Learning Health Community has collaborated with CDISC to develop a minimum set of key data elements for documenting vaccinations. The goal of the collaboration is to achieve multinational agreement around one global core data standard that will enable the success of vaccine credentialing applications and secure sharing of essential information for uses such as safe travel.
The organizations have published a draft standard for public review. This draft attempts to define the minimum key data elements, and draws upon the work of several different organizations.
The set of common data elements proposed has been based upon recommendations made available by the European eHealth Network as referenced by the European Commission in announcing their plans for a Green Certificate to facilitate travel by Europeans among EU countries. This set of common data elements has also been informed through U.S. CDC. The elements have been aligned with standards from HL7, CDISC and ISO (standards development organizations), where applicable.
Of course, we have to ask the question: why listen to GIPHT and CDISC? Well, these two organizations claim a previous success, as noted in their press release.
“CDISC developed and published a COVID-19 data standard in less than a month by leveraging existing global clinical research standards, including those for vaccines, virology and Ebola,” stated Rhonda Facile, Vice President of Partnerships and Development, CDISC.
However, there is one significant difference between exchanging COVID-19 data and exchanging vaccine certificate data. The former is an exchange of medical data which is of primary interest to health professionals. The latter has much greater ramifications, since it can potentially affect border crossings, travel in general, and access to facilities such as casinos, sports stadiums, and concert venues.
Is it even possible to develop a vaccine certificate interoperability standard that satisfies the foreign affairs and transportation ministries of multiple countries, the major airlines and airports, the casino operators, the major sports leagues, AND Taylor Swift?
(We know Ms. Swift’s views on facial recognition, but as far as I know she has not expressed her views on vaccine certificates.)
And if it is possible, will all of these parties agree that GIPHT and CDISC are the ones to develop the standard?