Google rolls out digital COVID vaccine certificate card support for Android

Google is building support for digital COVID vaccine cards into Android
Today's rollout of the pan-European digital COVID-19 vaccination certificate was already met with a dire warning from a number of companies that the interoperability issues will cause havoc from crowds and queues at borders and airports.

Inter-European travel is not the only region that needs digital vaccine certificate compatibility to ensure smooth travels, though. The much ballyhooed permission of US tourists into European countries hinges on vaccination proof again, yet the US and EU digital certificates are yet to be mutually recognized for authenticity.

Digital vaccine certificates come to Android phones

Enter Google, as the company will be including support for digital COVID vaccine cards straight into its venerable Android operating system, its mobile wallet and payment section in particular. 

Google Pay can now save and show your COVID-19 vaccination card on Android phones and tablets, provided that they are from the approved institutions list that Google has partnered with.

Google Pay’s "Passes API" will be used, as this is the wallet section where you can store general membership cards. The information included is the type of vaccine, timing of doses, jab provider, and other pertinent info that is displayed into a neat scannable QR code at the end.

We can only hope that the provider list will be growing with time, and Android's built-in digital vaccine card will enjoy wider uptake, as, needless to say, we carry our Androids and iPhones with us at all times, which can't really be said for our printed vaccine certificates. If you are worried about privacy or security, Google is quick to clarify the following points: 

  • The user’s COVID vaccination and test information is stored on their Android device. If a user wants to access this information on multiple devices, the user will need to manually store it on each device. Google does not retain a copy of the user’s COVID vaccination or test information.
  • Users can choose to show their COVID Card to others. The information in the user’s COVID Card is not shared by Google with its various services or third parties and it is not used for targeting ads.
  • A lock screen is required in order to store a COVID Card on a device. This is for added security and to protect the user’s personal information. When a user wants to access their COVID Card, they will be asked for the password, pin or biometric method set up for their Android device.

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