Nearly 5 million Virginians are fully vaccinated.
Individual COVID-19 vaccination records in Virginia will now come with QR codes, the commonwealth's department of health announced Thursday. QR codes are bar code-like images that can be read by smartphones with cameras.
The additional technology will allow people to pull up digital proof of their vaccination status on a mobile phone without using an app — and without resorting to a flimsy paper card. Residents can also print their unique QR code for other computers to scan.
"As more and more employers and businesses respond to calls by President Biden and Governor Northam to require that employees and customers be vaccinated, QR codes will help improve the consistency and security of vaccination information while protecting individual privacy," the department said in a statement.
Nearly 5 million Virginians — or 58.3% of the population — have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to the Virginia Department of Health. The commonwealth is struggling to contain the latest pandemic surge caused by the delta variant. New case numbers are high in Northern Virginia and around the commonwealth, and the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association said Wednesday that Virginia has seen a more than 1,000% increase in hospitalizations since early July.
Meanwhile, many employers, school systems, universities, and governments across Virginia have begun requiring proof of vaccination for students and workers to return to in-person activities.
Anyone who has been vaccinated in Virginia can go to vaccinate.virginia.gov to download their vaccination record and QR code from the state's immunization database. The database now also includes records of Virginia residents vaccinated in Maryland and Tennessee, but not those vaccinated in D.C., North Carolina, or by the federal government. VDH says it's working to incorporate vaccination data from other jurisdictions.
In order to read vaccinations records via the new QR codes, businesses and employers will need to download and use the SMART Health Verifier App, which is also in use in four other states.
So far, D.C. and Maryland haven't adopted QR codes for vaccination records. Marylanders and Washingtonians can visit MyIRMobile to find and download their digital immunization records.
This story is from DCist.com, the local news website of WAMU.