Before you leave the house, don't forget to take your phone, keys, wallet, mask and some form of Covid-19 vaccine record.
New York City will require proof of vaccination for many indoor activities, such as dining, gyms and events, starting Aug. 16. Where I live in San Francisco, many bars require the presence of vaccine documentation for entrance. Yelp announced it would allow users to filter local business listings by two new attributes: Proof of vaccination required and All staff fully vaccinated.
Your phone can easily replace most of your wallet: your subway pass, credit card, flight ticket, hotel keys and soon even your driver's license. It's a great location to store your Covid 19 vaccine information, too.
The digital vaccine options vary from state to state. A national vaccination passport hasn't taken off in the U.S. so states like New York and California are taking things into their own hands. However, going through a digital passport app probably isn't necessary as most establishments are likely to accept either your original CDC vaccine card or a state-sponsored scan or photograph of it. Washington state's guidance to businesses, for example, says originals, copies or photographs are acceptable on a mobile device.
The vaccine is valid on any phone before you go out and get one online. Then check to see if there are other passport apps that might make quicker entry to your favourite spots. Apple's iOS 15 software update, due this fall, will include an upgraded Health app where users can store verifiable immunization records if available. Google recently announced support for a digital vaccine card for Android users, but it requires government agencies or healthcare providers to implement the technology.
Until those are more widely available, your best bet is to create a digital copy of your CDC vaccine card. On the upside, all you need is a clear picture. Sure, you could just take a picture and hope to produce it when a checker at the door asks for it — as long as it doesn't get lost among your thousands of pet and food photos. There is a way to scan it so that it is more readily available — and you don't make people behind you wait until they find out (or I think maybe instead)? Both iOS and Android devices have built-in apps that scan the contents of your phone using your camera.
When you create a new note on your iPhone, tap the camera icon and select "Scan Documents". Covid - 19 is the easiest vaccination card to find where to find information about it. You can pin the notes by tapping three dots on the right corner of the screen.
On Android phones: Open Google Drive, tap Add, then search. Get a photo of the document and Google Drive will auto cut and save as a PDF file. For easy access, tap the three dots in the upper left corner of the image to add it to Starred documents and download it for offline access.
Government-provided records offer an extra layer of verification, and schools, employers and venues could start asking them. Your flu shot report should be available in the state where you received your vaccine. Not every state is a verified digital record but here are a few of the major mobile applications:
MyIR Mobile is an app that offers official digital immunization records for Arizona, D.C. Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Dakota and West Virginia.
New Yorkers can register for the Excelsior Pass, as long as you were fully vaccinated in New York State and 15 days have elapsed since your last shot. Your birth date, ZIP Code and phone number will be required to verify your identity.
The pass — which contains an iPhone QR code and expires one year after your second shot date — can be accessed through the Android app, iOS app, website or Apple Wallet.
New York City announced on Aug. 3 that visitors or New Yorkers who were vaccinated outside of the state will be able to download an app called Key to NYC Pass.
People who received vaccinations in California can enter their name, phone number and digital birth date to retrieve their me vaccination record QR code.
The link is visible only for 24 hours, so take a screenshot to save it and make sure QR code and your name are visible in the shot. My photo is featured in my photos app, so I always have quick access to it.
The QR code can be used by the SMART Health app, which is searched for schools, businesses and other institutions, to confirm that the vaccine record is an official record of the state of California.
There's a lot of personal information associated with the vaccination record that will make identity thieves dance. That is why posting a selfie with your vaccine card isn't good idea.
I would also refrain from registering for one of the many independent vaccine-pass sites and apps that crop up, except unless an establishment where you are visiting warrants it. Vax Yes by Go Get Doc is one such option that works with Apple Wallet. The company says the website is compliant with HIPAA — a state law designed to protect sensitive health information — and can validate digitized records using federal immunization records.
Walgreens patients can view a copy of their vaccination records on the company's website. If you were vaccinated at Walmart or Sam's Club, you can download Health Pass by Clear to retrieve your digital records. You can share vaccination history with the app from Walmart's website.
Until you lose your immunization card, contact your state immunization system. The CDC lists links to each state system on its website.