(Pocket-lint) - So, you got the jab and want an easy way to show proof of your COVID-19 vaccination status while on the go, especially if you've forgotten your vaccine card at home. Luckily, there is an easy solution: Add your COVID vaccine card to your phone. It'll be like a mobile vaccination passport.
In the US, major cities - such as New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans - now require proof of vaccination to dine in restaurants and partake in other indoor activities. The entire state of California is even following suit. Many businesses, sports teams, and musical acts across the country are also asking people for proof of vaccination status, given the resurgence of COVID-19 and the Delta variant. Even in the UK, there is a growing demand to show proof of vaccination status.
In fact, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in July that English nightclubs and other venues with large crowds will require patrons to present proof of full vaccination from the end of September 2021. Here, then, is how you can easily carry a record on your phone, whether you live in the US or the UK.
How to add a COVID vaccine card to your device in the US
Here are the different ways you can lookup and store your vaccine card:
Option 1: Use your vaccination provider's site or app to access your records
First, check out your vaccination provider. Many Americans received their shots at a local pharmacy or grocery store participating in the CDC-approved retail pharmacy program. Some of these companies allow access to electronic immunisation records through their website. Walmart will let you retrieve copies of your records through its website and app. Likewise, those who went to CVS for their shots can find and access their COVID vaccination records via a portal.
We recommend searching your provider online, or calling it, to find out if they offer digital records of vaccines and how you can add them to your phone.
Option 2: Use your state's vaccine card app or digital ID app to store your records
Some states and territories offer vaccine card apps for you to use. For instance, Arizona, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Dakota, Washington, West Virginia, and Washington DC use the free service MyIR Mobile. Meanwhile, Californians can use myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov to access their immunisation records, and New Yorkers have the Excelsior Pass app. Just know that several states, such as Alabama, Arizona, and Indiana, have banned vaccine passports.
Now, if your state allows digital ID apps - for example, Colorado and Louisiana do - you can use that to add a photo of your vaccine card to your phone. Residents of Colorado use the MyColorado app, while residents of Louisiana can enter an electronic version of their records to the LA Wallet, the state’s digital ID app. It's worth Googling your state to find the latest information, as it's likely subject to change, especially as we get deeper into this never-ending pandemic.
Example: New York Excelsior Pass
For the purposes of this guide, we'll explain how residents of one state - New York - can use Excelsior Pass to add their card to a phone and show proof of status.
- Download the NYS Excelsior Pass Wallet app for iPhone or Android.
- Open the app and enter your name, zip code, phone number, and date of birth.
- Also, enter what vaccination you received and when you received your second dose.
- If you received the single Johnson & Johnson dose, you’ll just enter the date.
- When the information processes, your card will pop up.
- When you’re ready to use the pass, open the NYS Wallet app that you downloaded.
- Click on the active pass - the card that shows up in the app.
- You’ll see a QR code that someone verifying your vaccination can scan.
- You can also add the card to Apple Wallet on iPhone by tapping the “Add to Apple Wallet” button.
- If you do this, you can just open the Wallet app to retrieve the QR code.
Note: You can also enter your personal information at epass.ny.gov to verify your identity, and then you will be to access your pass with a QR code unique to you. You can add this digital pass to the Excelsior Pass app, or print it for a physical copy. The choice is yours.
Option 3: Use a third-party digital identity app to find and access your records
Several digital identity apps are available for US consumers to use to gain entry to an airport or sporting events, and now, they can hold your proof of vaccination. Clear, CommonPass, and VeriFly are all considered reputable apps for storing immunisation records.
Clear uses a scan of your face for added security. More specifically, you'll need to first create a free Clear account, and then you can upload your photo ID for it to scan and verify your identity. At that point, you can create a password and log in to Clear. From the menu, add your COVID-19 vaccination either by scanning your card directly or adding your QR code provided by a supported state. You can also log into a provider's site, such as Walmart, to retrieve your vaccine proof.
Once you've added all the necessary information, the Clear app will generate a scannable QR code to prove your immunisation status.
Option 4: Use your phone's wallet app to store and access your records
There is authenticated ways to get your immunisation information in the Apple Wallet app, Google Pay app, and even the Samsung Pay app.
Apple Wallet users
Some states (like New York) as well as vaccine providers and third-party apps already offer ways to get your vaccine card in the Apple Wallet app. We detailed how New York's Excelsior Pass process works in option 2 above. You can also use VaxYes from GoGetVax to generate a verifiable certificate that can be placed in Apple Wallet (or in Google Pay). You will need to enter your phone number on the site and then upload an image of your vaccination card.
In return, you will get a digitised card that can be stored in Apple Wallet.
Note: You should also know Apple’s iOS 15 update, due this autumn, will include an updated Health app that allows you to store verifiable immunisation records.
Google Pay users
Google offers a support page detailing other ways you can access your vaccine card, specifically in Google Pay. When you receive your shot, you may be given instructions from your provider about how to find your records online. If so, do it from your phone. If asked to save it locally with Google Pay, do it. Then go to Settings on your device and tap Google > Settings for Google apps > Google Pay. Touch the bottom of the screen and swipe up to find your COVID card and save it.
You will only be asked to save your immunisation records to Google Pay if your vaccine provider supports the method. Google offers an API for them to integrate into their websites, apps, and portals, giving you the opportunity to pull and add your records to Google Pay. You may also be asked if you want to add an icon to make your COVID card easier to find. If you want to add a shortcut to your card on the home screen of your device, tap More (three-dot icon) > Save to home.
Samsung Pay users
Samsung has partnered with non-profit The Commons Project to help digitise your vaccination card. Once you have authenticated your card through the CommonHealth app, you can add the details to your Samsung Pay wallet. The feature is rolling out by end of August 2021 to Galaxy phones that support Samsung Pay. That includes all Galaxy S devices since Galaxy S6, the Note lineup since Note 5, all Samsung foldables, and the Galaxy A series (A32 5G and A50).
Samsung said your data will be secure and that the transfer from the CommonHealth app to Samsung Pay is easy.
From what we can tell, Galaxy owners will need to use the Common Health app to upload their immunisation records from their provider. This process will authenticate your record and let you display it in the Samsung Pay app and share it as a QR code. It sounds similar to how Google Pay can add vaccine cards.
Option 5: Use your phone's camera to scan and save your vaccine card
Finally, if your state or vaccine provider doesn't work with your phone's wallet app to verify vaccination status, as a last resort you can simply scan and save your vaccination card with your phone camera. Just be aware the card-scanning method isn't verifiable and might not be accepted everywhere.
There are several ways you can scan your pass to iPhone. For instance, you can open the Notes app, create a new note titled "COVID-19 Vaccine," and then click the camera icon. A menu should pop up with the option to scan documents. Point your camera over the card, and when it focuses, click the button at the bottom of the screen to capture an image. Alternatively, you can use a third-party scanning app. Google PhotoScan uses AI to make your image look like a true scan.
Android users can download Google Drive. (iPhone users can also use the Google Drive app.) Once you do, just tap the "add" symbol and then the "scan" symbol (camera icon). From there, position your camera over your vaccination card until it focuses and scans. You can then save your document by tapping the checkmark.
How to add a COVID vaccine card to your phone in the UK
Brits can use option 5 as described above - which is to use your phone's camera to scan and save your vaccine card. You may also be able to use option 4, or use your phone's wallet app to store and access your immunisation records. But there's also a way through the NHS, and it's much more official.
Here's what you need to know.
Option 1: Use NHS COVID Pass to access your vaccine records in Apple Wallet
In the UK, it's more streamlined to access your vaccine card on your phone. The main NHS app has been updated to enable those who qualify for NHS COVID Pass in England to add it to their Apple Wallet, rather than just be able to access it through the NHS app or download it as a PDF. Adding your COVID Pass to your Apple Wallet means it's easily accessible, even when you don't have an internet connection. Pocket-lint has a guide that explains how the process works.
Just keep in mind, to get a COVID Pass, you need to be double vaccinated, or you need to have taken a negative test and reported the result to the government.