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How to store your COVID vaccine card on your phone

By the CDC’s last count, as many as 172 million Americans have received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. That number makes up 67% of the adult population.

The number of fully-vaccinated Americans is far less, with only about 157 million people (or around 47%) who have received both doses. As the numbers keep growing, many are not sure where to keep their vaccination card, or how to store it properly.

If you are traveling, there could be situations where that information is needed. Now Google has stepped in to make storing a digital version of the vaccination card easier.

Here are the details

For the most part, your vaccine record will be given to you on a piece of paper. Some healthcare providers can issue you with a digital certificate, which is much easier to keep track of than a paper-based copy.

Google has now made it possible for either COVID-19 test results or vaccination cards to be stored digitally on Android phones. The tech giant announced recently that it made some changes to the Passes API, opening the functionality to government agencies and healthcare organizations.

Passes, and the iOS equivalent Wallet, are apps that digital store things like boarding passes and payment cards. It’s a handy way to scan your details, board a flight or display entertainment tickets.

Through the Google update, this means that healthcare providers and authorized organizations can create a digital version of COVID vaccination information. This is then sent to your phone for safekeeping.

“Once a user stores the digital version of the COVID card to their device, they will be able to access it via a shortcut on their device home screen, even when they are offline or in areas that have weak internet service,” Google explained in a developer blog.

It will only work if you have a smartphone phone running on Android 5 and be Play Protect certified.

How it works

According to Google, there’s no need to worry that your personal details might be compromised. The ability to save your vaccination information through Passes is handled the same way boarding passes or tickets are.

Google explained that they don’t keep a copy of it, and you will have to save it to other Android devices manually.

“The user’s COVID vaccination and test information are stored on their Android device. If a user wants to access this information on multiple devices, the user will need to manually store it on each device,” the company explained.

The vaccination card is also not shared with others, and you have the control to do that yourself. The card won’t be used for targeting advertising and can’t be shared with third-party advertisers. Also, for the card to be stored on your Android device, you must have a lock screen enabled. You will also be asked for your password if you want to view your record.

When is it coming?

Even if you have an Android phone, the option to store your vaccination card digitally will depend on where you live. States and healthcare organizations will need to have the ability to offer digital versions of the card, and Google has not yet announced program partners.

Thus far, Apple has not made a similar update for iOS, so any digital vaccination card would need to be through an agency or third-party’s app. If nothing else, take a photo of the card or scan it using a feature in your iPhone’s Notes app (here’s how).

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