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Regional Interests

Why Should You Get a Digital Vaccine Card?

Digital vaccine cards – referred to by some as vaccine passports – are now available to all Californians through the California Department of Public Health.

Your digital COVID vaccine record refers to the details of your COVID vaccination as stored in the California Immunization Registry (which also stores details of all your vaccinations, not just your COVID shots). What’s being referred to as your “digital COVID vaccine card” is really just a screenshot of that online record — plus a QR code that’s attached to it.

It’s an alternative way of verifying your COVID vaccination status if and when venues or businesses request to see it. Previously, you’d have only been able to show the paper copy of your vaccine record or a photo of that paper copy.

Why consider getting a digital vaccine card? For one, the sign-up process is fairly simple, and no separate app download is required. The electronic record of your vaccination may also be easier to read than a photo of your paper vaccine card, which will have been handwritten by staff at your vaccination appointment.

A digital record is also a good option if you’ve straight-up misplaced or damaged your paper vaccine card. Not only can you use the digital version as proof of your vaccination, but you can print it out to replace your paper card wholesale.

The state has stressed that the digital vaccination record is not a vaccine passport, and that you are not required to obtain one. The state’s vaccine card FAQs also say California “will not be implementing a mandatory passport system.”

Some venues have the right to ask you to provide proof of vaccination as a condition of entry – and they’re going to do that regardless of terminology. These venues might include larger locations like concert halls and stadiums, but also smaller venues like gyms and bars. Your workplace may also ask you to provide proof of vaccination.

If you don’t want to get a digital vaccine card, that’s OK — nobody’s going to make you get one. The system is entirely optional, and just one of the ways to show your proof of vaccination. You can still show your paper card anywhere that requests proof of vaccination.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to requesting your digital vaccine card.

— Carly Severn (@TeacupInTheBay)

Copyright 2021 KQED