CT Introduces Digital Vaccination Cards As COVID-19 Cases Climb

CONNECTICUT — If you discover you've left your little paper vaccine certification slip at home when you're "vax carded" on your way into the club this weekend, you may now have another option.

The State of Connecticut is providing residents with the ability to store their personal COVID-19 vaccination records onto their smartphones.

The digital vaccination cards mirror the now-familiar pieces of paper from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that patients receive upon being vaccinated.

Gov. Ned Lamont stressed the choice to load digital vaccination cards onto smartphones is strictly optional, describing the new technology as "just about more convenience for Connecticut residents." Those who do not have smartphones or do not want to digitize their vaccination records can continue using the paper version, according to a statement released from the Governor's Office Monday.

The "SMART Health Cards" display a QR code that will confirm the smartphone user’s vaccination status to the club's bouncer — or grocery store greeter, or restaurant maître d' or other vendor or venue operator — upon being scanned. Lamont said the digital cards are more resistant to forgery than the paper versions, and can be obtained easily in the event that someone loses their hard copy and needs to replace it.

The QR code is based on the standard SMART Health Card framework developed by a consortium of public and private organizations. The standard has already been adopted by governments in New York, California, Canada and other states and countries, enabling them to determine a Connecticut resident's vaccination station if presented with the digital card. Connecticut officials said neighboring Massachusetts and Rhode Island are expected to launch programs soon using this standard.

Instructions for how to load the SMART Health Cards onto smartphones is online at the state's website. The system uses Connecticut’s immunization information system to confirm a person’s vaccination status.

COVID-19 Hospitalizations Climb

Lamont's announcement of the state's digital vaccine certificates came the same day as the Department of Public Health's notice that the number of residents hospitalized with COVID-19 had climbed 101 beds over the weekend, to 837. Of those, 204, or 24.4 percent, are fully vaccinated.

DPH reported a new coronavirus positivity rate of 6.85 percent on Monday, up less than a tenth of a percentage point from Friday's numbers.

Most of the hospitalized — 274 — are laid up in New Haven County.

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Instructions on how to get COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters in Connecticut are available online, as is a list of walk-up clinics sponsored by DPH.

This article originally appeared on the Danbury Patch