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California unveils system to provide digital COVID-19 vaccine records

Officials on Friday unveiled a new system through which Californians can access a digital copy of their COVID-19 vaccination record.

While everyone who's been inoculated for COVID-19 should have received a white paper card from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention detailing where and when they got their shot, state officials said an electronic option will give residents an alternative.

Though the California Department of Public Health "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," state epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan said in a statement. "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 system is accessible through myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov. Once there, residents will be prompted to provide their name, date of birth, and an email or cellphone number they used when getting their vaccine.

Residents will also need to create a personal identification number that can then be used to access a digital copy of their inoculation record, as well as a scannable QR code.

"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," Amy Tong, the state's chief information officer and director of the California Department of Technology, said in a statement. "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."

Gov. Gavin Newsom hinted at the announcement earlier this week — saying an electronic version of a paper vaccination card would soon be available, though it wouldn't be a " passport " or a requirement.

Under California's reopening guidelines that went into effect this week, the only setting where the state might require someone to prove vaccine status as a condition of entry is an indoor event with more than 5,000 people — such as sporting events or a convention. However, in that case attendees also can submit documentation of a negative coronavirus test to enter.

Proof of vaccination or a negative test is also recommended, though not required, for outdoor events with at least 10,000 attendees.

However, county health officials — as well as individual businesses or venues — can implement more stringent requirements.

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