Va. rolls out digital proof for vaccinations
VDH adds scannable QR codes for COVID vaccine records
The Virginia Department of Health has started adding scannable QR codes to COVID-19 vaccination records, digitizing the proof-of-vaccination process, the state announced Thursday.
VDH said QR codes available now cannot be altered or forged, and health information is available from the codes only if and when a person chooses to share it. Businesses or organizations can download a free verification app to scan codes.
Previously, people vaccinated in Virginia had to show paper cards when asked to provide proof of their vaccination status, but QR — short for “quick response” — codes commonly used in retail and logistics sectors let anyone to show proof of vaccination with a digital or printed code. Virginia is the fifth state in the nation to use the SMART Health format for QR codes. Starting Thursday, any person vaccinated in the state can visit vaccinate.virginia.gov to obtain their free vaccination record with QR code, which can then be saved to a phone gallery, printed on paper or stored in a compatible account, according to VDH.
Many employers and universities have required workers and students be vaccinated with few exceptions, and Gov. Ralph Northam mandated that the 122,000 state executive branch employees get vaccinated by Sept. 1 or be required to show proof of negative COVID tests weekly.
Similarly, President Joe Biden has ordered federal employees to be vaccinated or be tested weekly for the coronavirus, as well as a White House-mandated emergency rule requiring private sector businesses with 100 or more employees to make their workers get vaccinated or be tested regularly. Republican governors, however, have pushed back against the strategy, which would affect about 100 million Americans in total, and some have threatened to sue.
Virginia’s QR codes are available to anyone whose vaccination record includes a working phone number and is entered in the Virginia Immunization Information System, which tracks nearly all doses of the three vaccines administered in Virginia, with the exception of shots administered by certain federal agencies or Virginians who got vaccinated outside the state. Anyone whose record cannot be retrieved automatically can call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 7-1-1) for assistance.
As of Thursday, 58% of Virginia’s population is fully vaccinated, and more than 10.2 million vaccine doses have been administered in the state. Everyone age 12 or older is eligible to be vaccinated.