Massachusetts has launched a digital vaccination card system, the Baker administration announced Monday.
My Vax Records, as the tool is called, lets people see their vaccination history and pull up a card that's similar to the paper CDC cards that have been given out when people are vaccinated.
The tool's announcement does not mean there is a vaccination mandate in Massachusetts. The Baker administration is not requiring anyone to show their My Vax Records to get into any place, the tool is simply there to help residents who want to show their vaccination history, officials say.
However, the tool is being launched days before Boston begins requiring vaccinations for some indoor spaces, like restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues.
Users of the website can enter their information and can expect to get a response within a day, administration officials say. When it's ready, they'll get a text message with a link to their record and a smart health card, with a QR code that can be saved to apps like the Apple Wallet or by taking a screenshot.
The vaccine card sent by the state shows the user's name, birth date and the vaccination dates doses they received.
The system is run by the SMART Health Card open-source platform off of data provided in the Massachusetts Immunization Information System. Among the states already using the system are New York and Rhode Island. Connecticut launched its own program last month.
For those looking into how to add the card to their phone's records, the Department of Public Health offers a frequently asked questions page that also touches on whether the record can be stored in other ways (yes, including printing) and whether additional COVID vaccine doses received after downloading the record will be automatically included in the scans (no, you'll have to request an updated card).
Officials noted that some people may not be able to find their records, in part or in whole, right away. That could be because their vaccine record isn't associated with their phone or email. They can contact their health care provider or the Massachusetts Immunization Information System to update the records.
Gov. Charlie Baker has long opposed instituting a statewide vaccination requirement. He said in November that his administration was exploring a digital vaccine card but not a mandate.
"We just want to make sure that people have the ability, if they've been vaccinated and want to have proof that they've been vaccinated, that they can easily download it onto their phone and use it whenever they need to," he said.
But some experts have urged officials to require vaccine passports, which some countries have embraced.
France's vaccine passports rollout was effective "in terms of increasing vaccination rate, and anything that increases vaccination rate is obviously a good thing," Dr. Shira Doron told NBC10 Boston this fall.