The state of Oregon has finally started issuing digital COVID-19 vaccination cards. The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) started developing the My Electronic Vaccine Card app in November of 2021, and had originally hoped to launch to the public before the end of March.
The actual release ended up getting pushed back to April, and while the delay was less than a month, it corresponds with a dramatic shift in vaccination policy. Oregon businesses do not have to ask for proof of vaccination, so uptake for the $2.45 million app could be low now that many venues are starting to lift their vaccination requirements.
Having said that, Oregon businesses are allowed to set their own vaccine policies, and My Electronic Vaccine Card should make it easier for residents to share their status with establishments that uphold their mandates. In the past, Oregonians have had to rely on the paper cards that are issued whenever they receive a shot. Some chose to carry the physical version of that card, while others took a photo of the card and stored it on their smartphone.
The new app, on the other hand, is a little more official. The platform provides those who were vaccinated in Oregon with a digital QR code that can be printed on a piece of paper, or stored in a digital wallet, as a photo, or as a PDF document. Venue operators can then scan that QR code to check someone’s vaccination status quickly and efficiently.
To obtain a QR code, Oregonians must use the My Electronic Vaccine Card website to submit their name, date of birth, and their contact information. OHA will confirm that that individual was vaccinated in the state, and then send the link to the code. When scanned, the code reveals the holder’s name and date of birth, as well as the date and brand of their vaccination.
While the My Electronic Vaccine Card will make checks easier, the app does little to assure venue operators that each QR code belongs to the person holding it. In that regard, the app is not as reliable as vaccine passports that link a record to the individual through biometrics. Businesses that want a higher level of identity verification will still need to ask for a photo ID to make sure that each person is who they claim to be.
My Electronic Vaccine Card is reserved for those vaccinated in Oregon, though the app itself was developed with help from Washington and California, both of which have already released their own offerings. The app supports 13 languages, but it is not mandatory, so people will still be able to present their original paper document as proof of vaccination.
Sources: The Oregonian, Portland Mercury