As the world starts to shift towards the vaccination phase of this pandemic, people may be needing to flash their vaccine cards to gain entry to some countries or even to some venues locally. Google is now updating the “Passes API” on the Google Pay app so health care organizations and government agencies can get the ability to store digital COVID vaccine and test cards on Android devices. Users will be able to save the card and access it when needed, even without internet access.
The Passes API is actually part of Google Pay and is able to store non-payment cards like loyalty cards and membership cards. With this update, authorized developers will be able to create digital vaccine cards which users can store on their home screen and present it whenever needed. They don’t need to download the Google Pay app if they don’t have it yet on their devices. Just tap on the shortcut on the home screen and even if you don’t have an internet connection at the moment, you’ll still be able to access it.
Of course there may be some privacy concerns here since it’s Google, but the tech giant wants to assure users that they will not keep copies of people’s vaccine and test information. They also promised not to share the data with any third-party services and will not be using said information for ad targeting. Users will also be required to have a lock screen on their device before they can store the virtual card for their own safety.
While requiring vaccination cards to enter venues and establishments is still an ongoing debate, there are countries that require this if you want to enter their borders. Having virtual cards will of course make it easier especially for those who may lose their physical cards. Of course having this is still dependent on the organizations and agencies in respective countries but at least the Passes API is ready if they need it.
To be able to us this feature, the device needs to be running on Android 5 and above and has to be Play Protect certified. Initial rollout is only in the U.S but other countries will follow.