October 27, 2021

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Vaccine mandates: Proof of vaccination apps in New York, New Jersey

NEW YORK — Now that New York City is enforcing its requirement of proof of vaccination in order to eat or drink indoors at restaurants or bars, to gain indoor admission to gyms and other health facilities, and to enter theaters or other entertainment venues, keeping track of your vaccine card is seemingly more important than ever.

But that card is pretty important, and it’s another thing to remember when you leave the house. So for ease of use, there are lots of options to show proof of vaccination from your smartphone. Here are a few apps that could be helpful going forward:

Government services

New York State Excelsior Pass

NYC Covid Safe app on the Apple App Store or Google Play

New Jersey — along with not-so-neighboring Utah — offers the Docket app for immunization records.

Adobe Scan

Peter Shankman is a tech consultant.  In fact, his title is futurist-in-residence at Epic Marketing Consultants.  
He strongly recommends that everyone have backup copies of their vaccination card. 

“Store it on your phone, not [just] in the cloud,” Shankman advised in an interview. “You can keep it in the cloud, but store it on your phone just to be safe.”

He said that he keeps his vaccination card as a pdf file that he downloaded from Adobe Scan.

Scanning documents on your phone

On the iPhone, use the Notes app to create a new note. Then, hit the camera icon above the keyboard and choose the option for Scan Documents.

Once you’re finished scanning the front and back, swipe left to right on the note. This will reveal a way to “pin” it to the top of your list of notes for easy access later.

On Android, find the Drive app. It should be preinstalled on your phone. Long press the app icon to reveal a shortcut for “Scan.”

Once you’re finished scanning your card, tap the three dots in the upper right-hand corner of the note to reveal some options. Tap “Make Available Offline.” This will download the note to your phone so you can access it even without a data connection. Finally tap the option for “Add to Home Screen.” This will give you a shortcut on your home screen for fast access.

More options

A service called VaxYes will give you free digital vaccine passport for your phone. Just submit a snapshot of your vaccination card and the site uses artificial intelligence and state records to validate your information.

The Clear App (commonly used for bypassing long security lines at the airport) has a feature that allows you to create a digital vaccine card complete with your photo. There’s no subscription necessary.

If you don’t feel comfortable uploading your card or ID, check with the health provider that gave you your shot. Carbon Health, CVS, Walgreens, Walmart and more participate in the Smart Health Card standard. Once they provide you a QR code record of your shot, you can import it into an app called CommonPass.

CommonPass is free and displays an easy to read, scannable vaccine card with all the pertinent information on it and the company promises no tracking. Unfortunately, you can’t import it into Google Pay or Apple Wallet.

Samsung recently announced that they are working with CommonPass to allow people to import their digital vaccine card into Samsung Pay, with the feature rolling out over the next two weeks. Similarly, there’s the hope that support for Apple Wallet and Google Pay will come soon.

Plus, if you were vaccinated at a major pharmacy, many chains have electronic records of who they’ve vaccinated and can issue you a replacement card if you show your ID.

Shankman said, everybody should assume that their phone could get lost, or lose power. It’s why he recommends, “Send a copy of it to someone who you trust, so they can always then send it to wherever you’re going.”  

Follow Rich DeMuro on Instagram for more tech news, tips and tricks.

Listen to the Rich on Tech podcast for answers to your tech questions.

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