VDH develops vaccination verification tool

Published 5:22 pm Friday, October 1, 2021

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The Virginia Department of Health has added QR codes to the state’s COVID-19 vaccination records, allowing people to show proof of being vaccinated with a digital or printed “quick response,” or QR code, instead of a paper card.

QR codes are a type of barcode that smartphones can scan and are commonly used in the retail and logistics sectors. 

With more businesses and employers requiring vaccinations of customers and staff, the QR codes are designed to help improve the security and consistency of vaccination information while protecting privacy. 

To get a free vaccination record via QR code, a person who was vaccinated in Virginia can go to vaccinate.virginia.gov. It can be saved on the phone to a gallery, printed on paper or stored in a compatible account. 

The QR codes have the same information as a paper record and are digitally signed by the state department of health, which means it cannot be altered or forged. The information on them is not available to anyone else unless someone chooses to share it. Businesses and employers who are verifying someone’s vaccination status can use the SMART Health Verifier app to scan QR codes for free. 

Anyone with a working phone number and in the Virginia Immunization Information System can get a QR code, and nearly all doses are reported to VIIS, including some administered outside of the state. However, doses given directly by such agencies as the Department of Defense or Department of Veterans Affairs are not reported to VIIS. 

Someone who cannot get their record automatically can call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682) while TTY users can call 7-1-1 for help. 

Nearly 5 million state residents — 58.3% — have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Sept. 16. 

In Suffolk, 46.1% of residents (42,707) have been fully vaccinated, with 52.1% fully vaccinated in Isle of Wight County (19,332), 50.4% in Surry County (3,238), 48.7% in Franklin (3,877) and 41.7% in Southampton County (7,354). 

All people 12 and up are eligible to be vaccinated and can visit vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682). TTY users can call 7-1-1. Help is available in English and multiple other languages. 

Residents vaccinated in other states included in state data

The state health department is now including vaccination data for Virginians who were vaccinated in Maryland, and is expected within weeks to include such information from residents who were vaccinated in North Carolina and the District of Columbia. The state health department added Tennessee data in August.

Though the statewide vaccination total includes members of the military, local vaccination data does not, though state health officials have said they are working on this.