coronavirus illinois

Illinois to Allow Residents to Use ‘SMART Health Card' to Prove Vaccination Status

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Illinois health officials have announced that the IDPH’s “Vax Verify” immunization portal now includes the SMART Health Card, which allows users to download a QR code that will enable them to confirm their vaccination status at businesses and venues that require it.

The system will allow all residents age 18 and older to check their COVID-19 vaccination record, state officials said.

“It's just simplifying processes, so that people can quickly show information about their vaccine status,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said.

The QR codes can be downloaded or kept in Apple Wallet or can be pulled up using an app through the Google Play store, according to a state press release.

While the state has not issued a mandate requiring proof of vaccination in indoor venues, Chicago and suburban Cook County have done so, requiring that guests at specific facilities prove that they are vaccinated against COVID-19.

“It’s not a mandate from the state. We are supportive of the locales and jurisdictions that are using this as a way to keep our communities open,” Ezike said.

The SMART cards are currently in use in California and New York, and the app will allow residents to see their vaccination records in the Illinois Comprehensive Automated Immunization Registry Exchange (I-CARE) system.

Illinois residents can access “Vax Verify” at the state’s IDPH portal. Businesses will need to download the Commons Project’s SMART Health Card Verifier app to read the codes and verify vaccination cards.

“Businesses don't have to enter any information to use it so we can't track anything,” JP Pollak, founder of the Commons Project, said. “Nobody's personal health information is sent up to the cloud or anything like that. So it's a safe, secure and privacy preserving way to check these very quickly and easily at the door.”

Pollak says that the company is working on getting the most up-to-date information pushed to the app quickly, including when an individual receives a booster shot. He also says that businesses are picking up on the system and implementing it for ease of access.

“I think we are seeing pickup, and I’m hopeful that it will continue, as this is definitely the best, but also the easiest, way for people to demonstrate their status,” he said.

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