Here’s what you need to know about California’s digital vaccine card

Bryan Hernandez, Reporter

Californians vaccinated against the coronavirus now have the option to access their vaccine card digitally as of June 18.

California’s Department of Public Health and Department of Technology announced a new digital tool that gives residents easy access to their COVID-19 vaccine record.

Dr. Erica Pan, the state epidemiologist, believes an online record will be suitable for California residents.

“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 in a press release. “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.”

What is California’s digital vaccine card?
The digital vaccine card is a digital copy of the paper Centers of Disease Control vaccine card.

It contains the same information as the original: name, date of birth, date of vaccinations and vaccine manufacturer.

The Digital Covid-19 Vaccine Record website uses the SMART Health Card framework, which is secure and privatizes user information to reduce healthcare fraud, according to

How can I access my digital vaccine card?
To access the digital vaccine card, the user has to go to and fill out the required fields listed: first and last name, date of birth and an email or phone number the user provided when they got vaccinated.

The user will then create a 4-digit PIN. Afterwards a link is sent via email or text. The user has to click on the link and re-enter their 4-digit PIN to access their vaccine record.

The digital CDC vaccine card also contains a QR code that makes the information scannable by a QR scanner.

It is highly recommended that users take a screenshot of the digital vaccine copy once all steps have been completed.

Is this mandatory?
California’s chief technology innovation officer Rick Klau said in a tweet that signing up for the digital vaccine card is voluntary.

“Don’t want a digital copy? Totally cool!” Klau wrote. “You still got vaccinated, which helped California reopen this week. Thank you.”

How is this different from a vaccine passport?
A vaccine passport would be necessary in order for vaccinated people to be allowed into businesses that ask for the digital passport, for events such as full-capacity concerts, and for international travel.

The European Commission will launch a European Union Digital Vaccine Certification for members of the EU on July 1. The digital certificate will enable EU citizens that are fully vaccinated to freely travel inside the EU, according to the EC website.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Gov. Gavin Newsom stated, “It’s not a passport, it’s not a requirement, it’s just the ability now to have an electronic version of that paper version, so you’ll hear more about that in the next couple of days.”

However, events with more than 5,000 attendees in indoor venues are mandated to verify attendees’ vaccination status, according to CDPH. The CDPH also recommends outdoor events with more than 10,000 attendees to verify attendees’ vaccination status.

For more information, visit the Digital Covid-19 Vaccine Record website’s FAQ section.