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Tech Savvy: How to keep a digital copy of proof of vaccination

Many places such as bars and restaurants, especially in travel destinations such as New York City, are requiring customers to provide proof of vaccination. But for those who don’t want to carry their paper-based vaccination card or worry about losing one, there are digital alternatives.

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A man shares with another the image that is displayed on his smartphone. Contributed / Luis Villasmil

Prone to losing things? Don’t lose your mind trying to find a paper copy of your proof of COVID-19 vaccination card when there’s an easier way to keep a record with you.

There are many ways to keep a digital copy of your vaccination card on your smartphone, which will come in handy as many restaurants, gyms and event venues may need proof of vaccination to enter those establishments or return to work after working remotely during the pandemic.

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New York City and San Francisco are requiring proof of vaccination for many indoor activities, some of which include working. Delta Air Lines will begin charging, for example, its unvaccinated workers enrolled in its health care plan $200 a month starting in November.

"The average hospital stay for COVID-19 has cost Delta $50,000 per person. This surcharge will be necessary to address the financial risk the decision to not vaccinate is creating for our company," Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a memo to employees.

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A vial labelled with the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine is seen in this illustration picture taken March 19, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

A day after the Pfizer vaccine was given full approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Ohio State University mandated its students and faculty members be vaccinated.

"You’ll continue to hear that message of support for vaccinations a lot from our department, the university and Columbus Public Health because it is a key component to having a full stadium in the fall," Gene Smith, Ohio State athletic director, said in a statement.

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Some concert and exhibition halls are requiring attendees to use the airport security service Clear to verify their vaccination status in order to attend a show. To download the smartphone app and get your COVID-19 vaccination card added, visit www.clearme.com/healthpass .

The FDA on Monday granted full approval to the Pfizer vaccine, which many speculate will encourage more businesses to mandate their employees be vaccinated as a condition of their employment. Essentia Health has such a mandate..

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Essentia Health workers are expected to receive their first dose of vaccine by Oct. 1 and their second dose in a two-dose series by Nov. 1. “I think at this point in the pandemic we have widely available vaccines,” said Dr. Jared Reese, a family physician who practices at the Essentia Health St. Joseph's-Baxter Clinic. There is a process for requesting exemptions to be vaccinated due to medical or religious reasons.

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People who have been vaccinated received a small paper card that was not much larger than a business card, which makes the proof of vaccination easy to lose, damage or steal. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are not storing a person’s vaccination status.

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“While some places may accept a picture of your vaccination card, others may require you to use an app that's been implemented at the state level. … Requirements vary, based on locale and company,” according to CNET, a website focused on technology and consumer electronics.

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The home screen of an iPhone displays the smartphone apps downloaded on the mobile device. Contributed / Dimitri Karastelev

Taking a smartphone photo of your vaccination card is the most obvious, easiest and quickest way to keep a record of your vaccination status or a backup copy of your card because most people have their mobile devices with them nearly everywhere they go these days.

A photo-taking tip to keep in mind includes storing the picture in a notes app, a folder or somewhere else that is easy to find without having to endlessly scroll through the smartphone’s camera roll of recorded pictures to locate the photo of the vaccination card.

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Other tips for photographing a vaccination card include doing so in a well-lit area with the card against a dark background and zooming close enough to the card so the print and writing is legible.

For those not confident in their photo-taking skills, another option is to use a scanner app to scan the vaccination card and make a copy of it. There a scanner that's built into the Notes app on the iPhone whereas the Google's Stack PDF scanner on an Android phone does the equivalent.

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Samsung gives Galaxy smartphone owners the choice to add proof of vaccination to Samsung Pay, its wallet app. To add the vaccination card to Samsung Pay, download the CommonHealth app from the Google Play Store.

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Follow the prompts in the app to verify your vaccination status. Once the app confirms you have been vaccinated, you will be prompted to download a Smart Health Card to Samsung Pay, which can be displayed to those requesting proof of vaccination.

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New York, Colorado and California offer some form of digital vaccination card while Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Dakota, Washington, West Virginia and Washington, D.C., use the MyIR Mobile app to provide a digital copy of a vaccination card.

Most important will be knowing whether a business or other organization will be requiring vaccinations for those who enter their buildings.

“When in doubt, look for information on the business's website, or call the local health department and ask for clarification. This is bound to save you time, headaches and being turned away at the bar,” according to CNET.

FRANK LEE may be reached at 218-855-5863 or at frank.lee@brainerddispatch.com . Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchFL .

Related Topics: TECHNOLOGYCOVID-19 VACCINE
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