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State Debuts Digital COVID Vaccine Record System

The California departments of Technology (CDT) and Public Health (CDPH) collaborated to stand up a solution that will connect residents with electronic proof that they have received the COVID-19 vaccine. CDT led the tool’s technical development; CDPH coordinated immunization records and provided policy expertise.

California residents can now access a digital vaccine card through the Department of Public Health’s website, state officials announced Friday.

Entertainment venues, sports arenas and other businesses can use the cards to verify that someone has been vaccinated, State Epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan said on a call with reporters Friday. She also said the digital cards can be used for travel to countries that require proof of vaccination.

California requires that venues holding indoor events with more than 5,000 people check to ensure that attendees are vaccinated or have tested negative for COVID-19. The state doesn’t have any requirements for other types of events or businesses to verify vaccination status.

To access their electronic cards, residents who got vaccinated at California sites must enter their name, date of birth and email or phone number associated with their vaccine record at

The California Department of Public Health uses the state’s central immunizations database to generate the cards, California’s Chief Information Officer Amy Tong said on a call with reporters.

Not all of the vaccine records in that database include contact information, which means some people may have trouble accessing their digital cards, Chief Technology Innovation Officer Rick Klau said. He encouraged Californians who have trouble accessing their records through the site to call the state’s COVID-19 hotline at 833-422-4255.

The new electronic cards show the same information as the paper CDC cards: the vaccinated person’s name, birth date, vaccine date and vaccine manufacturer.

The electronic cards also have QR codes that contain an official digital “signature” from the state verifying that the record is legitimate. QR stands for “quick response.”

The state’s system will prompt residents to create a 4-digit pin, which they can use to access the record in the future. Californians can also screenshot their card and save it on their phone that way, according to the Department of Public Health press release.

(c)2021 The Sacramento Bee. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.