How to Put a Vaccine Card on Your Phone


Oh good, you’re vaccinated. Now all you gotta do is prove it.

More businesses, employers, and venues are issuing mandates for vaccines against Covid-19, which means you’ll need proof of vaccination to get in the door. In the US, those slightly-too-big-for-your-wallet paper cards are the main official record that someone has been vaccinated. They can be a pain to carry around, and are just as easy to lose as anything else that’s jangling around in your pockets. Fortunately, there are ways to digitize them. Usually.

While places like the European Union offer official digital vaccine certificates to all citizens, the US is a bit more … complicated. Here’s how to go about it.

Safety First

As with any kind of personal information, you should consider the potential risk of dumping your deets online. Back in June, Apple said that it was developing features to let users store their driver’s licenses and state IDs in Apple Wallet. The move drew some concern from security experts, who pointed out that even if Apple itself can’t access the files, hackers or overzealous law enforcement agents could. In some cases, using Google or Apple Pay might be a good idea. Contactless pay services like Apple Pay have been hacked, and it’s possible the same could happen to your vaccine card.

Get Official

The first thing you’ll need is an official digital record of your vaccine information. This can come from government websites, your health care provider, or the place where you received your shot.

Depending on where you live, getting records from the government might be tricky. A few states make it easy and offer access to digital records via SMART Health Cards. Right now, this is the case in California, Louisiana, Hawaii, parts of Maryland, and Virginia. They’re also available in parts of Canada. Here’s everywhere that uses SMART cards.

Other states may not be so straightforward. And in some places, governors have outright banned digital Covid vaccine records in the name of “medical freedom.” You’ll have to check with your state’s official resource websites. PC Mag has a handy list of digital vaccine options organized by state.

If you received a vaccine from your usual health care provider, you might be able to get information through them as well. Depending on where you got vaccinated, it’s possible that the company itself can digitize your vax card. You can generate digital vaccine records with Walmart, Sam’s Club, Rite Aid, and Express Scripts. All will require that you have accounts and log into them.

Once you have your virtual vaccine card, you can just leave it on your device and pull it up whenever you need to. To make the process even smoother, you can add it to your phone’s wireless payment app for near-instant access. Here’s how…

Apple Health/Wallet

Vaccination Card displayed in Apple Wallet
Photograph: Apple

Apple’s newest mobile operating system, iOS 15, was released in September and comes with a host of new features. Among them, the Health app gives you the option to save and share your medical records, including your Covid vaccine status, with other health care providers. You can also save the card in Apple Wallet, which will let you be ready well before the burly bouncer at the door of your local tiki bar starts glaring at you.



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