California launches electronic vaccine verification system

California is launching a new way for people to keep track of their vaccination status online.

The state is calling it a "Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record." People can sign up, if they'd like, by logging onto myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov. You'll enter your name, birthday, email, phone number and create a 4-digit pin.

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Then you'll be sent a digital version of your vaccination record that has the same information on it as the CDC card you already have. You'll also have a QR code that can be scanned if you need to prove vaccination to enter a venue, business or country that requires it.

This isn't an app, just a QR code that you can pull up as needed.

"While CDPH recommends that vaccinated Californians keep their paper CDC card in a safe and secure place, we recognize that some people might prefer an electronic version," said California epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan in a press release. "And if one of the state's nearly 20 million vaccinated Californians misplaces their paper card, the Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record provides a convenient backup."

When making the announcement Friday, California health officials avoided using the words "vaccine passport."

"This is no different than someone's vaccine card," said Dr. Pan.

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"It's basically taking a card that is a physical card and digitizing it," said Gov. Gavin Newsom when previewing the technology. "It's like a driver's license. If you lose your driver's license, what do you do? This allows you to have something in your digital wallet."
The standard paper cards handed out with vaccinations have been found to be easily forgeable.

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Electronic verification of vaccination has been a controversial issue, with some critics fearing a mandatory "vaccine passport" that will violate privacy rights.

"It's not a requirement. It's just the ability now to have an electronic version of that paper version," said Newsom

Only Hawaii and New York so far have implemented any form of vaccine passport.

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A local employment attorney said showing proof of vaccination will likely be required before returning to the office.

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