Tech downside causes states’s digital vaccine card system to disclaim San Diego requests

A technical problem linking San Diego’s vaccination registry to the state’s network is causing local requests for digital vaccination cards to be rejected by California’s just-launched vaccine record system.

In an email, Mike Workman, the county’s communications director, confirmed the problem and said that the problem is expected to be solved by the end of the day.

Launched Friday morning, the new system, now available at, asks for a few key pieces of information — name, date of birth and cell phone number or email address — returning a link to each individual’s coronavirus vaccination record. The document includes a QR code, allowing venues to scan but not store the record and verify vaccination status using the SMART Health Card Framework.

In order to return information, users must enter the same cell phone number or email address they used when making their vaccination appointment. Parents and guardians who made appointments for children can enter the child’s name and their own cell phone number or email and receive access to the digital record.

If no record is found, residents can call the state’s COVID-19 Hot Line at (833) 422-4255 for assistance.

Once downloaded, the cards can be saved to a smartphone’s picture storage as a screenshot, making it easy to pull up at a later date.

It is a serious development in the current climate around vaccination reluctance. Many across the nation have resisted any notion that the government might create a “vaccine passport” to help identify those who have been inoculated and those who have not. While the state insists that the new system is nothing more than a digital version of the paper cards, the presence of a QR code does allow businesses to be more aggressive with verification than they can with the current paper cards which are easily forged.

Federal guidance adopted this week requires all those who are not fully vaccinated to continue wearing masks indoors and California law allows businesses to choose one of three different ways to verify vaccination status. Businesses can simply believe those who say they are vaccinated, implement a vaccination verification system or require everyone to wear a mask.

During a new conference Friday morning, a state officials confirmed that businesses throughout the state may choose to accept only the new digital cards if they wish, rejecting the paper versions issued during vaccination.

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