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As KC businesses ask for proof of vaccination, Cerner makes it easier to take on the go

Posted at 9:21 PM, Aug 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-08 23:16:24-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Management at "The Ship" in the west bottoms say it was smooth sailing for their first week of requiring patrons to show proof they got a COVID-19 vaccine.

"We had brand new customers that we've never seen before that came specifically because of that policy," Lotta Williams, general manager at The Ship told KSHB 41 News on Sunday. "Whether it was to support us or just because they felt like they were more comfortable."

A majority of folks brought their paper card, but a few displayed their record digitally, according to Williams.

"Once this catches on and people come more used to it that the QR codes would be preferable so for verification," Williams said.

It's an idea that Cerner has made a reality: developing a tool for healthcare providers that allows patients to get an encrypted copy of their immunization records to take on the go.

"We wanted to make it easy when those sites actually wanted to see that QR code or something that was fully validated," said Dick Flanigan, senior vice president, policy and regulatory strategy at Cerner.

The digital record — or as they call it: 'the vaccination credential' — has a person's date of birth, the date they got their dose, the type of vaccine and its lot number.

"For a way that patients would trust, that the information that's being shared was the minimal amount of data needed to demonstrate that they had been vaccinated," Flanigan said.

Since launching just over a month ago, more than 80,000 people from 100 different clients are using it.

While it's not universally available just yet, more options are coming.

"We definitely are considering it. But I just want to make sure that I'm cognizant of my staff members, who were [and] who are going through a really hard time now," said John Couture, owner of the Bier Station in Waldo.

Couture noticed business has slowed down since the recent mask mandate went into effect.

"I would like to ask people here if they're vaccinated as a staff member, but I'm nervous about the backlash of it, because already getting people to wear a mask is an uphill battle," said Caroline Evans, a server at the Bier Station.

They are willing to keep an open mind about requiring proof of vaccination.

"If you had an app instead of a piece of paper, it might give staff members more confidence that what they're doing is actually making a difference and that they can have a good amount of confidence that this information is legitimate," Couture said.

In both Kansas and Missouri lawmakers have banned vaccine passports, leaving that decision up to business owners.