IBM links with Salesforce to offer digital COVID-19 vaccine passports

In the final act of the 2011 film "Contagion," people wore bar-coded wristbands to prove they had been inoculated against the deadly, pandemic virus. But in 2021, of course, the vaccinated will be able to use a blockchain-powered smartphone app, according to IBM and Salesforce.

The two tech giants are partnering up to help businesses and public spaces smoothly reopen as newly authorized COVID-19 vaccines become more available by integrating IBM’s Digital Health Pass with Salesforce’s web-based employee management platform.

"At the start of the pandemic, many organizations deployed simple COVID-19 screenings, such as self-reported health surveys, to support re-entry to workplaces and other institutions," said Paul Roma, general manager of IBM Watson Health. 

"Now, as testing becomes more widespread and vaccine distribution gets underway, we are expanding the availability of IBM Digital Health Pass with Salesforce to help organizations verify an individual's vaccine status and any other relevant health credentials," Roma said.

Big Blue’s health pass app, which debuted earlier this year, aims to provide individual, sharable health credentials following test results, vaccinations and temperature checks through an encrypted digital wallet on a smartphone. This could also help allow passengers to board airplanes, concertgoers to enter venues or spectators to attend sporting events.

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Now, IBM is working with Salesforce to help employers deliver wellness surveys to employees and customers through its platform, as well as perform contract tracing and schedule coronavirus test or vaccine appointments. 

"Our partnership with IBM will give organizations a single platform designed to provide safe and continuous operations, deepen trust with customers and employees and do everything possible to support their health and wellbeing," said Bill Patterson, executive vice president and general manager of customer relationship management applications at Salesforce.

Salesforce also recently introduced a version of for managing vaccine programs aimed at governments and healthcare organizations. The company is also working with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance to help distribute about 2 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines across 190 countries before the end of next year.