Leavitt Partners Future Frame Series: Vaccine Credentialing – How The Private Sector Is Getting The Economy Moving Again

Credible proof of vaccination status is critical for businesses to stay open as the COVID pandemic wears on, but paper vaccine cards are less reliable given the propensity for fraud. On September 16, 2021, Leavitt Partners’ CEO, Andrew Croshaw, moderated a LinkedIn Live broadcast featuring Ryan Howells, Principal at Leavitt Partners; JP Pollack, co-founder and Chief Architect at the Commons Project; and Frank Tuscano, Director of Marine, Medical, Safety, Security and Supply Chain at the Royal Caribbean Group. The group discussed current vaccination status verification protocols and how these protocols are being adapted to fit the changing economy during the COVID19 pandemic.  

Andrew began the discussion by noting that, as of the date of the broadcast publication, roughly two-thirds of those eligible in the US are fully vaccinated and that increasingly, organizations are requiring COVID19 vaccination for both customers and employees. According to a business survey conducted by Arizona State University, with support from the Rockefeller Foundation, 7 out of 10 employers are requiring COVID19 testing among their employees, and over 90 percent of employers indicate that they will require or encourage COVID19 vaccination among employees (more than 1200 employers were surveyed).  

In light of recent political backlash with regard to vaccine mandates, as well an increase in fraudulent attempts at duplicating vaccine cards, both the public and private sectors have indicated a need to provide simple and sustainable platforms for COVID19 vaccine verification.  


Our experiences with vaccine verification most commonly occur upon a student’s entry into a new school system/school year, or with a smaller subset of employers who required full vaccination status due to the nature of the job. In these situations, an individual traditionally requested these records via their primary care physician, or through a state portal, with a lot of paperwork involved. While this method has been satisfactory to meet previous requirements, the need for a trusted, verified COVID19 vaccination status in various-use settings (including flights, shows, restaurants, etc.) has proven necessary. A group of organizations came together in mid/late 2020 with the aim of addressing this commercial challenge, leading to the development of the SMART Health Card.  VCI is a voluntary coalition of public and private organizations encouraging use of the SMART Health Card, including 800 member institutions who are committed to implementation of this verified system.  

The SMART Health Card:

  • Digitizes COVID19 vaccine information in the form of a secure QR code, scannable by locations requiring vaccination 
  • Certifies that vaccination information is valid and reliable, by including digitized signatures provided by the issuer of the vaccine (including most major pharmacies, the two largest EHR companies, state agencies, and other vaccine providers) 
  • Ensures individual privacy by utilizing a person centric, non-database platform which does not track location or store user information post-scan – verifier apps briefly show an individuals name and signed vaccination status to be verified against an ID at requiring locations
  • Promotes health equity by allowing for SMART Health Card QR codes to be scanned using either free mobile applications or physical printouts, which can be obtained using any public printing source

Of note, the aim of the SMART Health Card is to provide vaccine credentialing, which is access to and verification of vaccination status. It is not to set policies and legislation as to when and where full vaccination is required, which is commonly known as a vaccine passport.  

Real-World SMART Health Card Application

Frank noted that while companies are following CDC and health expert guidelines to ensure consumer safety, the widespread availability and use of a trusted verification system such as the SMART Health Card could help return industries to a higher capacity than the one in which they are currently operating. Continuous adjustments will need to be made for international settings. 

While the current focus of the SMART Health Card is credentialing for the COVID19 vaccine, it is possible that booster shots, additional vaccines, or various other sources of health information could be included within access platforms like the SMART Health Card in the future. The advancement of individual access technology not only helps to combat the COVID19 pandemic, but also furthers the public and private sector objective of empowering individuals to take charge of their health by increasing access to their health records. 

For more information on how to obtain a SMART Health Card, click here.  


For on-going updates and insights into how health policy is impacting the industry, learn more about Leavitt Partners weekly policy intelligence updates hosted by Jennifer Colamonico through our D.C. Direct membership. Each week, we spend 45 minutes providing comprehensive, focused intelligence and analysis from Washington, D.C., on legislation, administrative rules and guidance, and personnel. Learn more here. 

Our mission at Leavitt Partners is to advance value to make health care more affordable, sustainable, and effective. We invite community members and industry experts to join us in future dialogue on the healthcare climate. View our upcoming schedule of Future Frame discussions here and join us for our next broadcast on Thursday, September 30, on LinkedIn Live. Andrew Croshaw and other Leavitt Partners and healthcare industry leaders will discuss health insurance changes during the COVID19 pandemic.