California releases code for digital Covid-19 vaccine records to support deployment in other US states

Smart Health Card QR code for Covid-19 vaccine records
DIGITAL RECORD: Vaccine data is checked by scanning a QR code with a Smart Health Card reader

California has released the code for both the front end and middle tier of its Digital Covid-19 Vaccine Record into the public domain to enable other US states to deploy their own digital vaccination record systems more quickly.

The US state’s digital record system allows residents to access a digital copy of their Covid-19 vaccination record via their Android or iOS device and uses the interoperable Smart Health Card framework so that the data held on the record can be checked and verified by scanning a QR code with a Smart Health Card reader.

“California’s Digital Vaccine Record is an implementation of the Smart Health Card framework, also built on an open-source framework,” California Department of Technology says.

“The code we’re releasing today is everything we built to provide a front-end form that lets California residents submit a request for their digital vaccine record, and a middle tier that passes those queries to the back end (in our case, a Snowflake instance).

“If there’s a match, the middle tier returns a Smart Health Card-formatted QR code, along with the individual’s name and vaccination information.

“Every state in the United States operates their own immunization registry. If a state is interested in offering a service similar to what we launched in California, they can take our code, connect it to their own back end, and generate digital vaccine records for their residents.

“This won’t be plug-and-play exactly — it will still require some work to make the connection between the middle tier and the state’s back end — but we hope it will save states some time.”

To date, three other US states — Hawaii, Louisiana and New York — have launched digital vaccination record systems using the Smart Health Card framework, as have a number of individual counties in the state of Maryland.

US residents who have been vaccinated at Smart Health Card-supporting hospitals, healthcare providers, pharmacies and grocery stores elsewhere in the country can also access their digital vaccine record using the Smart Health Card system.

California introduced its Digital Covid-19 Vaccine Record portal in June and is making the front-end and middle-tier code available to other states via the GitHub development platform.

A coalition of US technology and healthcare providers originally launched the Vaccination Credential Initiative to enable digital access to vaccination records using the Smart Health Cards specification in January.

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