Senior Health

8/9/2021 | By Seniors Guide Staff

Sooner or later, you will likely be asked to prove your vaccine status for COVID-19. And with the delta variant rearing its ugly head, it could be sooner. More schools and businesses have begun requiring the shots, so providing proof could become the norm.

For instance, you must be vaccinated to work for Uber, Facebook, Google, or the federal government. And if you want to take that dream vacation to Hawaii, it’s up to you to prove you got the shots or show a negative coronavirus test if you’re going to avoid quarantine.

But, how do you prove your vaccine status? Right now, there is no standard for showing proof of vaccination other than the card you received when you were vaccinated. However, while there is no single app that will be accepted universally at this point, more ways to store your vaccination record on your smartphone are cropping up.

Are these vaccine passports?

Technically, but don’t call them that. The idea that businesses or governments can ask you to prove your vaccination status is repugnant to those who believe these institutions already know too much about our personal lives. Amid the debate of individual freedom vs. public health, the term “vaccine passports” took on a negative connotation and fell out of favor.

Proof of COVID vaccination apps are having a resurgence

Anyone receiving their vaccination at the local Walmart can now download a digital copy of proof on a device. Walmart has partnered with the “Clear” app to provide fully vaccinated people with a digital version of the CDC card.

Clear is the same company that offers touchless IDs for airline passengers, allowing them to skip lines at the airport. Obtaining a digital vaccine card requires you to take photos of your driver’s license, vaccine card, and face. The app will then use biometrics to scan your face and eyes to prove it is you. The company can then check the immunization information through the state health department.

VaxYes is another option. It’s not exactly a COVID vaccine proof app, rather a web portal that lets you upload photos of your ID and vaccination card through a browser on your smartphone. You can also use a computer to upload pictures on the VaxYes website.

The company will confirm your immunization records with the state health department, and you can add the digital vaccine card to your Apple or Google wallet. It also uses Clear’s Healthpass to create a QR code, allowing others access to your health information.

Both of these services indicate they are HIPAA compliant, and your information will be safe. However, when you use them, you are permitting access to some of your health records. Neither Clear nor VaxYes is straightforward to set up. And you will not receive your digital vaccination card for 14 days after you get the second Pfizer or Moderna shots or 14 days after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Keep in mind that some places accept these apps, and some don’t. For now, it’s a good idea to have a paper copy of your vaccine card on you when you travel.

Why bother going digital?

One fear is that fraudulent paper records will increase as more mandates are issued. It’s also much quicker to scan an app than to validate a paper card to prove your vaccine status. Add to that the fact you can lose your paper card much more quickly than a smartphone app. Finally, digital records give up only the required information, protecting your privacy better than the CDC cards containing all those personal details.

Is there a downside to digital proof?

There are not many downsides to digital, but some experts are concerned that a few of the apps are being created by companies that do not focus strictly on secure digital health passes. Other companies might start charging you after you start using the app. Also, unscrupulous app designers could use them to access your private information.

The most secure digital systems could be so complicated that setting them up may limit access to them. But the good news is, after you get through the one-time setup, you can bring up your proof of vaccination effortlessly.

Related: Reassuring Seniors About the COVID Vaccine

Seniors Guide Staff

Seniors Guide has been addressing traditional topics and upcoming trends in the senior living industry since 1999. We strive to educate seniors and their loved ones in an approachable manner, and aim to provide them with the right information to make the best decisions possible.

Seniors Guide Staff