California residents no longer have to worry about losing their COVID-19 vaccination record card as state officials announced the availability of a digital version of the card issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

“We are better enabling Californians to verify their vaccination status to ensure our state is in a better position to encourage best practices to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” said California State Epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan during a Friday morning press conference.

The new Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record for Californians, available at no cost, can be found at The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced the new capability during a Friday morning press conference.

“While CDPH recommends that vaccinated Californians keep their paper CDC card in a safe and secure place, we recognize that some people might prefer an electronic version,” Pan said. “And if one of the state’s nearly 20 million vaccinated Californians misplaces their paper card, the Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record provides a convenient backup.”

The Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record requires a user to enter their name, date of birth, and an email or mobile phone number associated with their vaccine record. After creating a 4-digit PIN, the user receives a link to their vaccine record that will open upon re-entry of the PIN.

The record shows the same information as the paper CDC vaccine card: name, date of birth, date of vaccinations, and vaccine manufacturer. It also includes a QR code that makes these same details readable by a QR scanner. Once the digital record is received, health officials encourage residents to take a screenshot of the information and save it to their phone files or camera roll.

The digital record follows national standards for security and privacy. It was built by the state using the open-source SMART Health Card Framework.

“We worked with CDPH, tech industry leaders, and consulted with California’s top businesses, service and event purveyors to create a system that works well for all sectors,” said Amy Tong, state chief information officer and director of the California Department of Technology. “We achieved our goal to quickly produce an intuitive portal that offers Californians another way, and an easier way, to access their own COVID-19 immunization history.”

Pan, formerly an Alameda County health officer before her appointment to the state level, noted that the state’s digital record is not a so-called vaccine passport.

“This is really no different than someone’s vaccine card,” she explained. “It’s an optional tool for Californians to use to be potentially more convenient and one of many ways people can show and verify that they’ve been vaccinated.”

The QR code can be scanned to determine one’s vaccination status in circumstances where that is required. According to Tong, the QR reader will display the same information that is the paper version of the vaccination record. Rick Klau, California’s chief technology innovation officer said QR readers are prevented from storing the information read from the QR code.