Washington launches new vaccine verification system

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The Washington Department of Health on Tuesday launched a new digital verification tool for vaccinated residents, enabling people to use their smartphones to provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccination to businesses and employers who request it.

The new digital record system, called WA Verify, draws COVID-19 records from the state’s immunization system. Residents can visit a website and type in their name, date of birth and an email or phone number associated with their vaccination record, which is then verified against the state’s records. If the information matches, users can receive a text or an email link to their digital COVID-19 vaccine record, as well as a QR code.

The new system supports 30 languages and officials said they expect to add more. The innovation and technology office within the Washington Department of Health said it worked with Microsoft, MITRE and the State of California to develop the new system.

California in June launched a QR code-based digital verification system and in September publicly shared its source code so other states could design similar systems. The California vaccine pass is based on the SMART Health Card, an open-source framework developed by Boston Children’s Hospital. Washington officials also published the source code for their new tool.

“When we created SMART Health Cards, we wanted to empower individuals with an open, secure, privacy-preserving tool to access their health records,” Josh Mendel, chief architect of Microsoft Healthcare and SMART Health IT, said in a press release. “Seeing SMART Health Cards applied to COVID-19 to help communities across Washington reopen safely is a reminder of the power of interoperable technology.”

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