Workforce

CDC, NASA seek apps to monitor employee vaccinations

vaccine passport on mobile phone (Robert Avgustin/Shutterstock.com) 

Federal agencies are looking to vendors for ideas on managing the implementation of the Biden administration's executive order requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for federal employees and contractors.

Under the executive order, agencies must require documentation from employees of their immunization record that includes the date of vaccine administration and the name of the health care organization providing the vaccine, according to an FAQ on SaferFederalWorkforce.gov. That documentation can be a paper or digital record that displays the required information. 

While agencies must collect information necessary to verify that an employee is fully vaccinated, they may develop their own processes, systems, tools or applications for data collection and maintenance -- provided they allow employees to update their vaccination status and related information, per the FAQ.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted a sources sought notice on Monday seeking information from vendors about a providing electronic verification of COVID-19 vaccinations and testing for its workforce of about 25,000 employees.

CDC is looking for what is commonly described as "vaccine passport," although that term appears nowhere in the contracting documents, to verify employee vaccinations and to monitor testing on the approximately 5,000 CDC employees who travel internationally for work every year. Many of these travelers will need to provide authenticated vaccine and testing data upon arrival in certain countries.

The agency wants information on whether a vendor can integrate data from CDC personnel systems and support back-end connections with data from pharmacy chains, state immunization systems and non-public health systems as well as information on whether a vendor's product is recognized and used in the U.S. and abroad. CDC is also interested in whether a vendor will accept a U.S. government travel card for payment in transactions.

NASA is looking to mobile tech for its vaccine passport. The space agency issued a presolicitation on Sept. 21 for technologies and software that could be downloaded to a smartphone that will allow employees to display their vaccination status before entering a NASA facility. The solution must also give agency officials a way to quickly report analytics on the number of employees vaccinated, while simultaneously maintaining the privacy and security of employee data. 

Users must be able to manually input data as well as upload a photo of a proof-of-vaccination document and any booster shots. The solution must also allow for results from rapid antigen tests, including the time/date of the test and result, and alert app users to a positive test result and when a completed test is more than seven days old.

To maintain the security and privacy to the data, the app should verify the employee's identity either through biometrics or a scan of a driver’s license or other government-issued ID. Uploaded data must be encrypted and converted into a QR code or a color-coded indicator so vaccine status can be easily checked upon entering a NASA facility. 

The solution should include a reader or a downloadable smartphone application that can read the QR code in order to identify if an employee meets the criteria.

Aggregated data must be exportable to allow for reports analyzing overall employee vaccination rates, NASA said.

The request for information asks potential vendors if their solution can meet federal data requirements for storing COVID testing data, such as the Federal Information Security Modernization Act for overall cybersecurity and the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program for cloud-service security controls.

Responses to the NASA RFI were due Sept. 24. CDC is seeking responses from vendors by Oct. 5.

Portions of this article were originally published in GCN.

About the Authors

Susan Miller is executive editor at GCN.

Over a career spent in tech media, Miller has worked in editorial, print production and online, starting on the copy desk at IDG’s ComputerWorld, moving to print production for Federal Computer Week and later helping launch websites and email newsletter delivery for FCW. After a turn at Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology, where she worked to promote technology-based economic development, she rejoined what was to become 1105 Media in 2004, eventually managing content and production for all the company's government-focused websites. Miller shifted back to editorial in 2012, when she began working with GCN.

Miller has a BA and MA from West Chester University and did Ph.D. work in English at the University of Delaware.

Connect with Susan at [email protected] or @sjaymiller.

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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