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California now offers a digital coronavirus vaccine card. Here’s what you should know

Deseret News logo Deseret News 6/21/2021 Jeff Parrott
text, letter: A COVID-19 vaccination card is displayed at the Banning Recreation Center Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in Wilmington, Calif. © Marcio Jose Sanchez, Associated Press A COVID-19 vaccination card is displayed at the Banning Recreation Center Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in Wilmington, Calif.

Californians vaccinated against the coronavirus now have the option to carry digital proof of their immunity conveniently on their phones, while state officials insist the website is not a COVID-19 vaccine passport.

In a press release on Friday announcing California’s new “Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record” website, state epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan recommended “that vaccinated Californians keep their paper CDC card in a safe and secure place,” while acknowledging that “some people might prefer an electronic version.”

  • “And if one of the state’s nearly 20 million vaccinated Californians misplaces their paper card, the Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record provides a convenient backup,” Pan added.
  • The digital vaccine card website offers all the same information found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 vaccine card and includes a QR code that can be scanned by a QR reader, according to the health department’s press release.

Amy Tong, California chief information officer and Department of Technology director, said her agency “worked with CDPH, tech industry leaders, and consulted with California’s top businesses, service and event purveyors to create a system that works well for all sectors.”

  • “We achieved our goal to quickly produce an intuitive portal that offers Californians another way, and an easier way, to access their own COVID-19 immunization history,” Tong said in Friday’s press release.

How Californians can get a digital copy of their COVID-19 vaccine record

Vaccinated Californians can access the website, and proof of their coronavirus immunity at the Digital Covid-19 Vaccine Record website.

  • Once on the website, Golden Staters will need to input their full name (first, middle and last), their date of birth and the phone number or email address they submitted when getting the vaccine.
  • Individuals will also need to create a 4-digit PIN, which will work like a password to gain access to the digital vaccine record.

According to the state, after inputting the identifying data and creating the PIN, vaccinated Californians will be sent an email or text that includes a link to the digital vaccine record. The PIN will be needed to access the link.

  • “Once the digital record is received, individuals are encouraged to screenshot the information and save it to their phone files or camera roll,” California officials suggested in the press release.
  • If any problems arise in setting up the digital vaccine card, individuals can contact the state at its troubleshooting website or at the phone number 833-422-4255.

Not a vaccine ‘passport,’ Gov. Newsom says

Gov. Gavin Newsom insisted last week that the state’s new vaccine record website was not a vaccine passport and that using the website to get digital vaccine proof was completely optional to Californians.

  • “It’s not a passport, it’s not a requirement, it’s just the ability now to have an electronic version of that paper version,” Newsom said before the website launched, according to the Deseret News.
  • “You are not required to obtain a digital COVID-19 vaccine record. It is an optional means to obtain your COVID-19 vaccine information, and is the digital version of your paper vaccine card. It is one of the options to show proof of vaccination. The state will not be implementing a mandatory passport system in California,” according to the state officials.
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