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California Launches Digital Vaccination Card

Kristyna Wentz-Graff / OPB

California has launched a digital vaccine card portal, allowing immunized residents to have a virtual backup of their physical card.

The digital version is also intended to help businesses that choose to verify vaccination status — but that side of the technology is still being developed.

Here’s what you need to know.

How can I get a digital copy of my vaccine card?

Go to myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov, where you’ll enter your name, date of birth and contact information associated with your vaccination. You then have to create a PIN to access the online card. It will have all of the information contained on a physical card.

There is not a phone app. So state officials are encouraging people to take a screenshot of the digital card and save it on their phone.

Are all vaccinated Californians in the database?

Most Californians — roughly 95% — are in the database, according to the state Department of Public Health.

Is this a vaccine passport?

Sort of. Officials are not calling it a passport because businesses have the option to use it as a vaccine verification tool. But the state isn’t requiring it.

Businesses can either review the information on the card or, eventually, scan the included QR code. The vendor is still developing the QR code verifier and will release it “in the coming weeks,” according to the CDPH.

Do I need to keep my paper vaccination card?

Yes, you should keep your paper vaccination card.

What can I do if I have a problem accessing my records?

You can find troubleshooting tips at cdph.ca.gov/covidvaccinerecord or call 833-422-4255 for assistance.

Where would I need to show vaccination status?

California is requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test for large indoor events with more than 5,000 attendees. Outdoor events with more than 10,000 attendees are encouraged to check proof of vaccination or a negative test. If a person cannot show proof of either, the state is encouraging the venue to require a face covering.

Other private businesses also have the ability to check vaccination status of customers, despite claims to the contrary on social media.

Does this make it easier to create counterfeit cards?

Manipulating a digital file isn’t all that hard. The state is relying on the QR code to thwart counterfeiters. Once scanned, the code will confirm the vaccination card details. But again, that verification tool is still being developed.

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