Developers from healthcare organizations, government agencies, and organizations authorized by public health authorities to distribute COVID vaccines and tests officially gained access to an updated Passes API this past week. This will allow them to begin creating a digital version of vaccine and test information for those who partake in vaccination. You can see an example of this below. It features the patient’s name, which vaccine they received, and on what date as well as a QR code. This mirrors the physical copy that everyone has been receiving thus far.
Once these are finalized, they can be distributed to a user’s device and placed directly on their home screen via a shortcut or stored in Google Pay and called up quickly when necessary. Please note that Google Pay does not need to be installed in order to receive a digital vaccination card, but it can be stored in the app afterward in the same way that a flight ticket or movie ticket can be. Instead, users need only to have an Android 5 or later device that is Play Protect certified with lock screen protection enabled.
What’s more, is that these digital cards can be accessed completely offline and neither Google nor third parties retain a copy of the vaccination or test information or use it for targeted ads. If you’d like to store your card on more than one device, you’ll need to go old school and transfer it manually. I’m assuming that COVID Cards that are stored on-device will be deleted if the user removes their biometric protection, pin, or passcode in the same way that Pay does your debit or credit card under similar circumstances, but this was not specified on the Google Developer Blog.
Google states that COVID Cards are being designed with privacy and security at their core. Any providers or developers who meet the aforementioned requirements may sign up to show their interest. There’s no telling how quickly these will be developed and available to consumers, but I imagine it will be fairly quickly given the desire to expedite herd immunity. Let me know in the comments if you’d be interested in having a digital copy of your vaccination card on hand at all times, or if you are going to avoid this with a ten-foot pole.