Oregon’s digital proof-of-vaccination card is finally here, about two months behind its originally scheduled roll out. The initiative, which cost $2.45 million to develop, was launched on Monday, April 25 via an announcement on the Oregon Health Authority's Twitter feed.
This voluntary card works with a QR code, available in 13 languages, that can be scanned from a phone. Interested parties are invited to go to myelectronicvaccinecard.oregon.gov to fill out an electronic form, which then allows users to download the relevant card wherever they choose on their device. It creates a digital alternative to dog-eared vaccination cards or blurry phone photos that Oregonians have been using when asked for proof of vaccination at venues including restaurants and theaters.
The roll out of the card was initially planned for earlier in the year, but was paused after “community partners raised concerns about the word ‘verify’ in the name [of the program], because they worried it would defer people from using it,” according to Erica Heartquist, a spokesperson for OHA. Health officials have stressed repeatedly that the program is optional and voluntary, and the program was ultimately rebranded as “My Electronic Vaccine Card.”
Oregon has been consistently behind neighboring states in its attempts to manage the pandemic with technology. First, the state abandoned plans for a digital exposure notification system after a long testing process yielded mixed results, amid questions about how many people would actually chose to use the technology. Additionally, New York, California, and Washington have all had digital vaccine verification apps in place for at least a few months now.