Hawaii creates optional digital vaccination record program

HONOLULU — The state of Hawaii this week plans to launch a program that will allow people to use their smartphones to prove they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Hawaii Smart Health Card comes shortly before Honolulu and Maui begin instituting vaccine requirements for patrons of restaurants and other businesses.

State officials say that starting Friday, people who have been vaccinated in Hawaii will be able to upload a photo of their vaccination card to the Safe Travels Hawaii website to create a digital vaccination record. The website will crosscheck this information with data stored in the state’s vaccination database.

Gov. David Ige said this should help prevent the use of fake vaccination cards. The verification process should only take a few seconds.

Customers may show restaurants, museums and other establishments their verified Hawaii Smart Health Card in lieu of their paper vaccination card to gain admittance. Businesses will have the option to use a validator app to scan a QR code on the digital vaccination records to verify their legitimacy.

“Participation in the Hawaii Smart Health Card is voluntary. It is strictly a convenience for those residents who have been vaccinated here in the state of Hawaii,” Ige said at a news conference.

The governor said some states including California and New York have started using similar digital vaccination records.

However, people who have been vaccinated through the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or through the federal pharmacy program won’t be able to have their cards verified through the website.

Starting Monday, Honolulu will require patrons of restaurants, bars, museums, theaters and other establishments to show proof of vaccination or a negative test for COVID-19 taken within the previous 48 hours.

Maui will start a similar program on Wednesday, though patrons won’t have the option to show a negative test.

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