OHA plans to launch opt-in QR COVID-19 vaccine card
PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – As Oregon prepares to lift indoor mask mandates by March 31, the state also plans to launch volunteer digital COVID-19 vaccine cards, which will allow residents to prove vaccination status using only their cell phones.
The Oregon Health Authority began evolve the optional digital vaccine verification tool in early December, though the program has largely flown under the radar.
The tool, which is closely modeled after those rolled out in California and Washingtonwould provide Oregonians with a digital opportunity to verify vaccination status in addition to the CDC-approved paper vaccine cards.
Similar to the Washington model, the OHA pilot program would ask opt-in residents to provide their name, date of birth, and contact information along with a security password and PIN to verify and match state immunization records.
According to the OHA, once vaccination status is confirmed, the user will be notified with a link to their corresponding digital vaccine card and state-approved digital QR code (or quick-response).
KOIN 6 News contacted OHA for an update on the application rollout and received the following response:
“The OHA is still testing this tool, which will be available free of charge to anyone in Oregon who has received a COVID-19 vaccine,” said OHA senior communications officer Jonathan Modie.
The agency said earlier that the tool would be available to all Oregonians who received a vaccine, whether or not the vaccination was recorded in their electronic health records. According to the OHA, the tool was primarily designed to increase equity, especially for residents who received a vaccine through a pop-up clinic and may not have had their online records updated.
During a recent press conference OHA Director Patrick Allen said: “What we are trying to do is provide the same easy capability to people who do not have easy access to an electronic medical record.”
The OHA did not disclose an exact date for the rollout, but told KOIN 6 News that they plan to launch the tool officially in late March.
“It will be an electronic way for people in Oregon to share their vaccination status with companies asking for proof of verification,” Modie said. “And will be completely voluntary.”
According to the OHA, the digital QR code should be an accepted, valid form of vaccine confirmation at most Oregon businesses, restaurants, and events.
OHA told KOIN 6 News that it is still too early for residents to sign up for the program, but they plan to announce digital vaccine card signups when the tool becomes available to the public.