Los Angeles county residents who get coronavirus vaccine will be able to keep proof of immunization in their iPhone’s digital wallet.
The record will live in the Apple Wallet, usually used for payment cards, boarding passes, or event tickets.
According to officials, it will first be used to remind people to get their second required dose of the vaccine.
However, it could also be used as proof of vaccination in the Covid-19 hotspot of Los Angeles.
Bloomberg first reported news of the county’s partnership with software firm Healthvana.
The digital card could be used “to prove to airlines, to prove to schools, to prove to whoever needs it,” that a recipient has been immunized, Healthvana CEO Ramin Bastani told Bloomberg.
Los Angeles County has a high level of infection of the disease, with nearly 13,000 new cases reported on December 29, and 227 deaths – bringing the number of those who have died with the disease to 9,782 to date.
The county’s vaccine chief Claire Jarashow told Bloomberg that officials were keen to make sure people came back for their second vaccine dose – as the paper document given to recipients is easily lost.
She said: “We just don’t have the capacity to be doing hundreds of medical record requests to find people’s first doses and when they need to get their second.”
Healthvana has a track record of handling sensitive patient data, having delivered millions of HIV test results to US patients in recent years.
However, there has been some resistance to the idea of a “vaccine passport”, which some fear could be used to deny entry to venues if people are unwilling to share personal medical information.
There are also some potential problems – such as not having the digital vaccine record on all phones, including Android users.
And there is no way to prove that the person holding the phone is the same person who received the vaccine, without some other identifier.
Those people might see this idea as a “hostile approach”, designed to withhold access to getting on board a flight, or attending an event.