The Quick and Easy Way to Save COVID Vaccine Passports on an iPhone

Saving your COVID-19 vaccine passport to your iPhone will only take a few minutes, but can save a lot of hassle.

Passports usually evoke images of world travel, opening the door to new and exciting adventures. These days, during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, passports have taken on a new meaning.

With more than 83 percent of Canadians fully vaccinated, individual provinces and the federal government have implemented proof of vaccination policies, also being called vaccine passports, to enable Canadians to return to some semblance of normal life. Across the country, verified vaccine passports allow fully vaccinated Canadians to reenter non-essential spaces, such as movie theatres, sports arenas and restaurants. As a result, vaccine passports are now as essential as grabbing your wallet, jacket and mask before heading out the door.

To make sure you always have your verifiable COVID-19 vaccination information at the ready, here’s how to save your vaccine passport on an iPhone—and how to keep it easily accessible.

(Related: A Province-by-Province Guide to Vaccine Passports in Canada)

Does the new federal COVID passport work for iPhones users?

Proof of vaccination has varied from showing the printed or emailed records received after a vaccine appointment to physical vaccine cards and more recently QR codes. In late October, the federal government announced new standardized proof of vaccination in the form of a downloadable QR code.

All iPhone users in provinces and territories following the SMART Health Cards Standards, a digital method of presenting verified health records created in response to COVID-19, can download their vaccine info. At the time of publication, this includes Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. The pan-Canadian vaccine passport is expected to be available in more provinces soon. The SMART Health Cards standard is also designed to be globally accessible. Individuals outside of Canada, or who were vaccinated outside of Canada, can download and access their health records on the Apple’s Health and Wallet apps as long as their vaccine provider supports the SMART Health Cards standard.

How to add COVID-19 vaccine records to the Apple Health app

These steps are only applicable for devices using iOS 15 or later so before starting, make sure your software has been updated.

  1. Access your vaccine records online. With the Canadian COVID-19 proof of vaccination plan, Canadians can access their vaccine history via the Government of Canada’s website. This will require your provincial health card and some personal information, such as your date of birth.
  2. Print your QR code or download it to your desktop. At this stage, your vaccination records can also be stored in your iPhone files as a PDF.
  3. On your iPhone, open the photo app and point the camera at the QR code. The phone should scan the code prompting a link to appear.
  4. Click the link and follow the prompts to save the records to Apple Health. These records will be stored in the “health records” section of the Health app under “Immunizations.”

These records are now stored and ready to present at restaurants, gyms and other venues, along with personal identification.

(Related: Flu Season Is Going to Hit Hard. Here’s How to Prepare)

How to add COVID-19 vaccine records to Apple Wallet

In order to add a vaccine passport to Apple Wallet on iPhone or iPod touch, devices must be updated to iOS 15.1. The vaccination card will detail your full name, type of COVID-19 vaccines received, the date of each dose, where it was issued and a QR code. None of these details will be accessible without the use of Face ID, Touch ID or a passcode and the vaccination card cannot be shared with other devices. When presented at a public venue, the QR code can be scanned to verify vaccination status.

  1. If you have previously added your vaccination record to the Health app, open the Health app, tap “summary” and there will be a prompt under the vaccination record to add this record to your Apple Wallet. One tap is all it takes.
  2. If you are downloading your QR code for the first time, access your vaccine records via the Government of Canada’s website.
  3. Open the photo app and position the camera as if to take a photo of your QR code. Your iPhone will recognize the QR code and show a Health app notification, offering an option to add these records to Wallet and Health apps. Follow the prompts to add the record to both apps.

All vaccination cards will be grouped together in Wallet and there is no limit to how many vaccine passports can be stored in the app. These vaccination records can be deleted out of Wallet at any time, but if deleted, will still exist in the Health app. Both records need to be deleted separately.

In the event that vaccination records need to be updated or changed, for instance after receiving a booster shot, download the new updated vaccination records to the Heath and Wallet apps. Records will not update automatically.

For more detailed info on storing health records and troubleshooting, see Apple’s COVID vaccine passport support page.

Next: Could Protection from COVID Soon Be Available Through a Nasal Spray?

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