What you need to know about the U.S. vaccine certificate on your phone


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We are tracking the launch of the COVID vaccine app in the United States and some of the ways people can now prove that they are vaccinated. But there is a lot of conflicting and confusing information, and many developers are vying to provide the preferred solution. Here, we have collected answers to some common questions.

Basic knowledge

What is a digital vaccine certificate? Is it the same as a vaccine passport?

A digital vaccine voucher is a way to show that you have been vaccinated against Covid by using an app on your phone (not a paper record). The states have developed various policies and programs related to such certificates, which are sometimes called vaccine passports.

Some states have their own apps when they need a vaccine certificate, such as Excelsior Pass in New York, Docket in New Jersey, and myColorado. The LA Wallet app in Louisiana also holds a driver’s license, which can store COVID-19 credentials. How states link digital certificates to immunization records may vary. For example, California sends QR codes to vaccinated individuals who fill out forms to verify their identity. Several states and territories have partnered with MyIRMobile, including Arizona, the District of Columbia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Dakota, Washington and West Virginia. The governors and legislators of some states (such as Alabama, Florida, Montana, and Texas) actively opposed the requirement for vaccine certification.

To understand each state’s position on mandatory vaccine credentials and the provision of digital means, check out Tech Review’s U.S. COVID Vaccine Application Guidelines.

Why should I install an app on my phone to prove the vaccine?

Some experts pointed out that the vaccine certification on the mobile phone is not as reliable as the CDC’s time-tested paper card. This may be the case, but it is a good alternative or supplement to carry a vaccine card with you. Digital proof does not necessarily mean installing a new application: photos or scans of paper cards stored on mobile phones are fine for certain places. The latest version of the Apple Health app for iOS 15 will be able to store health records, including proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

Note that while apps can be a convenient way to store vaccine status information, experts warn of potential risks to data privacy because this technology is relatively new and is being rolled out quickly.

Tour the town

Do I need to show a vaccination certificate in my daily life? For example, what if I want to dine in an indoor restaurant?

Most cities and towns in the United States have no vaccine requirements for indoor dining. New York City was the first city to announce the authorization, and it is still one of the few cities to do so. At least one dose of vaccine is required to enter restaurants, gyms and other indoor entertainment venues (such as theaters, museums, etc.). San Francisco and New Orleans followed closely. The former took a tougher stance and required customers to be fully vaccinated. Similar tasks are planned for the Los Angeles and Seattle areas in October.

Some individual restaurants now require customers to show proof of vaccination. To find out if you must bring a vaccination certificate with dinner, please check if the restaurant is on the map of OpenTable or check with the venue.

Does the law allow companies to require a vaccine certificate to enter?

Yes. Restaurants, gyms, theaters, and other types of businesses in cities such as New York and Los Angeles want to ensure that their customers are vaccinated.Although this has not yet become a common practice outside some large cities, private companies were able Legally require proof of vaccination before providing services.

Can companies require employees to provide vaccine certificates? Where’s the school?

It is legal for companies and governments to require employees to be vaccinated, as long as they allow exemptions for medical or religious reasons. Many companies have required workers to be vaccinated, and other companies are following suit.

Although teachers and staff in many school districts are required to be vaccinated, the rule does not extend to students in most areas. Los Angeles is the first major school district to compulsory vaccinations against the new coronavirus for students 12 years and older who attend classes in person. The Covid vaccine for children under 16 has not yet received full FDA approval. After approval, more states or school districts may include the new coronavirus vaccine in their list of required immunizations. More and more colleges and universities require vaccinations.

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