Digital Covid-19 Vaccination Cards
Google is rolling out their version of a digital card - with support from healthcare organisations and authorized by public health authorities, they will be able to make this a safe and secure way to store vaccine information on mobiles
With vaccinations being rolled out across the world, it is becoming necessary to have proof when travelling to certain countries and places, it is soon going to be vital for people to carry them around at all times. Google is rolling out their version of a digital card - with support from healthcare organisations and authorized by public health authorities, they will be able to make this a safe and secure way to store vaccine information on mobiles.
On the Google Developers blog, on the 30th of June, they announced they have updated their Google Passes API to enable vaccine providers access to create a digital form of vaccine card (COVID card) and test information. The Google Passes app is basically a digital wallet and is currently used for your cards, loyalty card, airplane tickets and the like, this means it will make it simpler and easier and just have one less bit of pesky paper to have in your pockets when going away or going out. This will only be available in the US at the beginning but will slowly but surely roll out to more countries over time.
Some states such as California and New York have implemented their own digital vaccination cards but having Google onboard for Android devices this will be it more accessible and easier to roll out. The digital cards will have the date and place of when and where you got the vaccine done, along with which one you had. Once the card is stored on your device you will be able to use it without worrying about internet, ensuring it is available at all times.
User privacy and security has been one of the main focus points, as it’s working in conjunction with healthcare providers, so a password will be required for accessing the card on the device, and will require a lock screen to store the card. Users will be able to access their card on as many devices as they wish but will need to download/store it manually each time. Having the card available on your phone means you can show it to whomever you wish, but the information that is stored on the digital card will not be shared by Google with other services or third parties. According to Google they will not keep a copy of any of the users COVID information.
Currently only available on Android devices, and as it’s a new feature, the device will need to have Android 5 or later and be Play Protect certified although users will not be required to install the Google Pay app to access the cards. In the UK, the NHS has an app in which people can download vaccine proof for when they are travelling abroad, but the service isn’t always up to scratch and many have had to request a physical letter for proof they have had both vaccinations.
Google is currently requesting that qualified providers show their interest and sign up, so they can roll this out quicker and at a more substantial rate. Once this feature is proven to be a success it will soon be an all-over-the-world app and make it much easier for people to prove they are vaccinated. Yes, it is a new world coming, but at least Google is making it a little easier.
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