Google has announced today that Google Pay is now capable of saving and displaying COVID-19 vaccination cards on Android, starting with select providers in the United States.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still underway around the world, it’s become critical in some places to not only get your vaccine — which you should absolutely do, if you haven’t already — but also be able to prove you’ve gotten it. Rather than simply expecting everyone to carry around a paper card with the information, some local government agencies have been offering digital versions, putting the data onto your phone, often with an easy-to-scan QR code.
To make this information far more accessible, rather than needing to be stored and viewed in a specialized app, Google Pay is gaining the ability to save COVID vaccination cards to an Android phone. The new capability comes as an update to Google Pay’s “Passes API” used to store other non-payment cards like membership cards.
Once your digital vaccination card provider supports the new API, you’ll be able to save the card locally on your device. For privacy, Google Pay will not store your data in the cloud, share it with third-parties, or use it to target ads.
Since the core contactless payments and passes aspects of Google Pay are now included in Play Services on Android, you will not need to use the new Google Pay app which only allows you to be signed in from one device at a time. This means your COVID-19 vaccination card will be able to be saved to multiple devices, if you wish. However, since it’s not being stored in the cloud, you’ll need to manually add the card to each device.
Instead, you’ll be able to save a shortcut to your homescreen to quickly access your COVID vaccination card through Google Pay. To further ensure your medical privacy, you’ll need to enter your pin/password or biometrics to view or share the vaccination card.
In the visual example Google provided, Healthvana, a company specific to Los Angeles County, is seen offering a COVID vaccination card. On the card itself, you can see the basics like which manufacturer’s vaccine you received and when. By tapping “Details,” you can find more information such as where you received the vaccine and which lot number the doses came from.
Google Pay’s ability to save and display COVID-19 vaccination cards will start rolling out in the United States in the coming weeks, before expanding to other countries. Interested companies/agencies can reach out to Google to get enrolled in the program to offer their digital cards on Android.
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