Right now, there is no one official way to keep a copy of your vaccination card on your smartphone, but there are several methods to keep it easily accessible in digital form.
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Snapping a photo is the easiest, but scanning it is a bit better.
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.
The California Department of Health lets you request a digital copy of your vaccine record. I submitted my information and within seconds, I had a text sent to my phone with a QR code copy of my vaccine card. You can then import this into an app like Vax Yes, Clear or CommonPass, which I’ll explain more below.
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, 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. I just wish you could 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. I hope to see support for Apple Wallet and Google Pay soon.
Also, Google Pay supports digital vaccine cards. I haven’t tried the method personally, but there should be a “Save to Phone” option displayed on your Android device when you are viewing the QR code sent by your provider. Instructions are here.
If you live in California, it’s easiest to request your QR code from the department of health and import into the CommonPass app.
If you’re a business looking to verify the digital QR codes that customers show you, download the SMART Health Card Verifier App for Android or iOS.
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Editor’s note: This story initially listed Walgreens as a participant in the Smart Health Card. The story has been updated to remove Walgreens from the list of participating health providers.