With hot vax summer already in full swing, Google is now making it easier to keep your vax card handy by building support for digital vaccination cards into Android itself.
Google says developers at healthcare organizations and approved health authorities will now be able to access these APIs in order to create and distribute digital versions of covid test results and vaccinations to patients, with the initial rollout beginning in the U.S. followed by more countries in the future.
Google says users will be able to store digital covid info on their Android devices and be able to access them quickly using a shortcut on their home screen—even if your device doesn’t have an internet connection. The only major requirement is that your device is running Android 5 or later and be Play Protect certified. Google even made a specific point to call out that users will not need to have Google Pay installed to access covid cards either.
Healthcare providers will be able to send out digital covid cards to patients directly via text or email or host it themselves on a website, but any covid-related info will not be retained by Google, stored in the cloud, or visible to third-party advertisers. Google says covid cards will only be stored locally on your device, though that does mean if you want to save your covid card on multiple devices, you will need to redownload it separately on each device.
On top of that, to ensure your covid data is extra secure, Google says that a lock screen will be mandatory on devices storing a covid card and that anytime the card is accessed, the user will be required to enter their password, PIN, or biometric sign-on.
In the end, having an easier way to carry around your covid testing and vaccination is certainly welcome, especially considering that many physical covid vaccinations cards don’t come in a standard size and often don’t fit properly in people’s wallets. And with many countries still requiring proof of a negative test prior to entry, having a digital covid test as a backup could be incredibly handy for anyone traveling internationally.