Mass. offers QR code to prove COVID vaccine status
Not linked to any new vaccine mandates, requirements
THE BAKER ADMINISTRATION on Monday released a new technology that state residents can use voluntarily to provide digital proof of their COVID-19 vaccination status.
A portal on a state-run website called My Vax Records will now let residents access their state vaccine records online and obtain a QR code that can be scanned to prove that they are vaccinated.
Administration officials made clear that the governor is not announcing any vaccine mandates for entry into venues, but the administration is providing the tool to make it easier for residents to provide proof of their vaccine status, should a business or municipality require it. At a State House press conference, Gov. Charlie Baker said the tool may be particularly attractive to people who travel.
“It’s a far more customer-friendly and effective way to make this tool available,” Baker said.
Baker reiterated that the tool is voluntary and not part of any mandate. “We want to make this available for people so that they have it and can use it and make their lives easier and less complicated,” he said.
The Massachusetts tool uses the SMART Health Card platform, which is currently being used by about a dozen other states and several pharmacies, including CVS and Walgreens, that offer digital proof of vaccines. That creates a level of interoperability, since businesses or municipalities that require vaccines are likely to recognize SMART Health Cards.
Baker has mandated COVID vaccines for executive branch employees, but has intentionally not created a statewide policy either requiring vaccines for entering certain spaces or banning vaccine mandates. Instead, he left it to individual businesses and municipalities.
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu recently announced that the city of Boston will require vaccination for workers and customers of gyms, restaurants, and indoor entertainment venues. Several Boston-area communities are considering similar mandates. A number of private businesses, including many museums and theaters, have imposed their own vaccine requirements.
Currently, people can generally prove their status by showing the CDC-issued paper vaccine card, a picture of the card, or a digital app.With this technology, a person can go to a website that is linked to the state’s immunization database, a database established in 2011 that lists a resident’s in-state vaccination history. They will enter their name, birthday, and a phone number or email address, then get a text message with a link. The person can click on the link within 24 hours to see their entire vaccination history. They can then create a QR code that contains their name, birthday, and the dates and types of their COVID-19 vaccine doses. The person can screenshot the code, print it, or save it on their phone in their digital wallet or health record.
The record will be scannable by anyone who has downloaded a SMART Health Card reader app.