Full COVID-19 vaccinations to be required for HIMSS21 attendance

Attendees, exhibitors, speakers and staff will need to verify that they're fully vaccinated to gain entry to the HIMSS21 campus in Las Vegas. HIMSS will offer more guidance soon on proof and validation, including potential digital apps.
By Mike Miliard
12:35 PM

Photo: HIMSS Media

HIMSS on Monday announced that it will have a "Vaccination Required" policy for its 2021 HIMSS Global Health Conference & Exhibition, currently scheduled to take place Aug. 9-13 in Las Vegas.

HIMSS (parent company of Healthcare IT News) will mandate that attendees, exhibitors and staff at HIMSS21 provide proof of "full vaccination" for COVID-19.

As explained on the new HIMSS21 Health and Safety Hub, full vaccination is achieved two weeks after a person's second dose of a two-dose vaccine series such as Pfizer and Moderna, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen.

"This guidance applies to COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (i.e., Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson (J&J)/Janssen COVID-19 vaccines), and COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization (i.e., AstraZeneca/Oxford), as of May 10, 2021," said HIMSS officials.

Attendees who cannot meet those requirements and demonstrate full vaccination will not be allowed onto the HIMSS21 campus. 

The details of how full vaccination status will be confirmed and communicated are still being determined, but HIMSS says it is "evaluating validation solutions with a focus on accessible, privacy-preserving technologies. We will provide attendees, exhibitors and HIMSS staff further guidance in the coming weeks on accepted proof and validation solutions."

HIMSS has put together an FAQ focused on other questions about its plans for in-person attendance – from the exhibit hall to education sessions to networking events.

This past week, a listening session presented by the Global Consortium for eHealth Interoperability, an organization founded by HIMSS, HL7 International and IHE International, offered a look at some of the approaches to vaccine credentials making progress in the U.S. and Europe.

For one example, during the session COVID-19 Vaccination Credentialing: Global Initiatives and Implications, Dr. Brian Anderson, chief digital health physician at the MITRE Corp., gave an update on the U.S.-based Vaccine Credential Initiative, which was launched in January and whose 400 member organizations have been working since on a secure and interoperable approach to proof of vaccination.

VCI is working with mobile device manufacturers to support its FHIR-enabled SMART Health Card, an "open-source-based credential on your phone that you can then use with your consent, with a verifier or with a destination as you see fit," said Anderson.

"After careful consideration and consultation with internal and external health and safety experts, HIMSS has determined that HIMSS21 can be the most robust, productive and interactive conference possible by requiring vaccinations for entry," said HIMSS officials.

"HIMSS will likely utilize one or more digital health applications to confirm that the vaccination status of each attendee, exhibitor and HIMSS staff member complies with the applicable right of entry protocols," they added. "The anticipated tool(s) will display a HIMSS21 pass status that will be checked (along with a HIMSS21 badge) to permit entry for attendees, exhibitors and HIMSS staff onto the HIMSS21 campus."

HIMSS will continue to update the HIMSS21 Health and Safety Hub.

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
Email the writer: mike.miliard@himssmedia.com

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS publication.

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